Friday 31 January 2014

Coroplastic Studies

Just finished my minor contribution to the January newsletter of the Association of Coroplastic Studies and forwarded it to professor emerita Jaimee Uhlenbrock (State Univerity of New York at New Paltz). The article is a short version of a a bigger research project  I´m working on.

"Circumbaltic Contacts in the Subneolithic Period

Anthropomorphic Clay Figurines from Vantaa Jokiniemi and Maarinkunnas  in Southern Mainland Finland

And so all of a sudden...  it´s Friday again and I´m feeling good :),  cheers!

Thursday 30 January 2014

Planned educational excavations/archaeology tours for 2014

This is VERY preliminary but this is the situation today 30.1.2014.

Raseborg Långåmossarna  (with Karis hembygdsförening/sällskapet Natura) early May 2014
Raseborg Säterigatan (with Karis Billnäs Gymnasium) May/June 2014
Vantaa Jokiniemi (with Heureka and Ango ry) 21 - 25.7.2014
Pitäjänmäki Leikkipuisto (with schools in the larger Helsinki region) late May 2014?

Stay tuned,  more info as things progress (and subsequently .. change ;)

Wednesday 29 January 2014

Friday 24 January 2014

Textile finds from the Senaatintori excavation finds after conservation

Archaeological excavations were carried out in Helsinki City Center in the late fall of 2012. Part of the Senaatintori square used to be a graveyard in the 17th and 18th centuries.

The excavated area was situated in the left hand corner of this panorama picture.

The excavations were rescue excavations conducted because of a break in the pipe system underneath the square. The textile fragments found during the excavation are now out of the conservation laboratory. The textiles date to around 1600-1700 AD. Below is a link to a short article about the conservation process of the textiles (in Finnish). All the pictures below by courtesy of Helsinki City Museum.

SANDBYBORG a frozen moment "iron age massacre" on Öland

Below is a link to a video (in English) concerning a very interesting archaeological find from Öland Sweden last summer. Certainly a site worth all the attention it gets!

Photo courtesy of Kalmar Läns Museum.

Brooches from the site.Photo courtesy of Kalmar Läns Museum.

School days: Gymnasiet Lärkan (Helsinki)

Today I had the the fine opportunity of  lecturing about the profession of archaeology at Gymnasiet Lärkan in Helsinki to a group of very motivated senior students. What a wonderful experience :).  I hope to see at least some of them attend my excavations during the incoming summer!

Despite of the recession there still seems to to be an interest in history among the students, many of which were very much aware of the recent developments in historical/medieval archaeology. Another field of interest today was about the ethics of the excavation of graves.

The bad reputation of the National Board of Antiquities in Finland seems to have been inherited quite well from previous generations. When asked, not one of the students had anything positive to say about this important National institution. When I asked about a negative impressions of  "Museovirasto" several hands flung up. Personally I can´t but wonder how things have come to this, but maybe it´s just simply a case of resistance of authorities.

On the contrast  to this the respect for the Universities and the education given there seem to be on a good  maybe "traditionally too good" or high level.

Tuesday 21 January 2014

The radiocarbon dates of the Janakkala grave find were published today!

By Lea Murto-Orava from the National board of Antiquities:

The piece of bone from which the radiocarbon sample was extracted. Photo Simo Vanhatalo NBA.

Radiocarbon datings of the skeleton indicate that the adult male was buried/died in the 14th century. The older sword (type Z) datet back to 950-1050 AD  and the longer sword to 1050-1200 AD (type XI).

A piece of charcoal apparently deliberately placed near the face of the body is from the 11th century.

There also were some burnt bones in the upper layers of the grave. These will be analyzed and dated in a couple of months.

According to the press release there were a couple more finds in the grave. Besides the two swords a spearhead, an axe, a knife and a handle from a kettle were also among the grave goods!

The grave from Janakkala. Photo by Simo Vanhatalo the National Board of Antiquities.

More abou the find here (in finnish):

Monday 20 January 2014

Blade core techniques

Personally I  found this series utterly interesting at least from part two onward . Enjoy!

Wednesday 8 January 2014

Good article on professional and responsible metal detecting in Finland

The article is only in Finnish but I will translate it to  English shortly. The article is written by the "Finnish national broadcasting company (YLE). Great job! The team goes under the name of "Kanta-Hämeen menneisyyden etsijät"

Great pictures by Ville Välimäki (YLE)

Tuesday 7 January 2014

Excavating a museum

in search of prehistoric artefacts (in lumps of soil as in this case) may prove very successfull :). This nice item was originally discovered at an excavation of the Viking burial site (a long barrow) in Lilleberge Norway by a British archaeologist in the 1880´s.

Photo by Andy Hall for the Observer.

Re-excavating the Lilleberge assemblage.

Metal detecting frenzy sweeping across Finland

Metal detectorists in Finland have reported a number of interesting finds during the last year. The media and also this blog have covered  the finds of a gold ring in Espoo, a bronze-age axe in Kemiö and the iron age grave with two swords from Janakkala. The news of the great finds  have skyrocketed the number of people who are into metal detecting in Finland.

Sadly I just received this bad news from Turku. I hope that the National Board of Antiquities ore someone else with authority would start coordinating the work with the people who are into this hobby. It is not only a matter of protecting the prehistoric and historic sites but also a question about where to find the money to pay for the multitude of items sent in by the enthusiasts  in hope of a fast cash reward for valuable finds.

I hope that the media would cover the subject with care and talk less about the cash value of the finds and instead focus on the possibilities of serious co-operation between the people into metal detecting and professional archaeologists. I see metal detecting as a great opportunity for archaeology but also as a great threat if it´s just treasure hunting for cash (although reported to authorities). The example below isn´t either, it is  simply criminal.