Friday 30 December 2016

The JFArchaeology blog crossed the 100.000 visitors mark today!

I would like to thank all viewers of my archaeology blog. Communicating my research to others is in my opinion as important as the digging itself. I would like to take the opportunity to wish you all a peaceful and happy New Year 2017! 

Jokiniemi 2014 "Heikki" with a neolithic potsherd. Photo Jan Fast

Thursday 29 December 2016

First announcement! The scientific conflict archaeology excavations of "Deutsches Lager Hanko" will continue 26.6 - 14.7.2017.

The 2017 community archaeology excavation is organized by "Hangö Sommaruniversitet". No previous experience of archaeology is necessary and the weekly participation fee is only 20 e for five days!! Below is a link to last years info about the dig (in Swedish).

Hanko is a small town but offers a broad range of accomodation facilities. It is important to book a hotel, B&B or private accomodation early on! Please contact the Hanko Tourist Office for more details!

If you have any questions whatsoever about the dig You can always e-mail me for more information on I will send you info about the project in English, Finnish or Swedish on demand!

See You soon in sunny Hanko!!


Jan Fast, archaeologist (Universiy of Helsinki, dpt of archaeology)
Jasmin Jyrä, archaeology student (University of Aberdeen)

Tuesday 27 December 2016

First Finnish metal detecting (reality TV) series about to air soon on YLE (the National Finnish Broadcasting Company)

The wait is almost over... On January 10th 2017 the first episode of the Finnish reality TV-series "Menneisyyden Metsästäjät" or "Raiders of the Past" (my translation) will air on Finnish national television.

Click on the link below to see a preview of the series (sadly the text is only in Finnish).

I will review each episode objectively here starting January 11th 2017. 

Tuesday 13 December 2016

Sunday 13 November 2016

The Finnish National Museum announces the opportunity to "Adopt a Cultural Object"

Finland celebrates it´s 100 years of independence next year. As part of the celebrations The National Museum of Finland has launched a campaign that makes it possible for anyone to be part of the preservation of cultural history of Finland.

It is now possible for a company or an individual to "adopt" a cultural object by participating in the conservation costs of a specific find (or finds) of extraordinary cultural value. The first items put out to be "adopted" are the finds associated with the 14th century/viking age gravegoods from the grave of the Janakkala Swordsman.

The grave of the "Janakkala Swordsman"

For 10 000 euros you get the fame for saving these unique finds for the future. The money donated will be used for the conservation of  all the finds associated with the grave (two swords, an iron axehead, an iron spearhead etc.). If you wish to help preserve the of the grave goods "Janakkala Swordsman" you are adviced to contact

The National Museum promises that the finds will be put on display at the Vapriikki Museum Centre in 2017 and after that in the National Museum of Finland or the castle of "Hämeen linna". Below is a short videoclip taken when the grave was was dug in late autumn 2013. 

The find was also presented on TV in an episode of the series "Medieval Dead".

Tim Sutherland (left) and NBA archaeologist Simo Vanhatalo (right) in Janakkala during the filming of the TV series.

Sunday 16 October 2016

The 2016 season of excavating "Deutsches Lager Hanko" is over.

The dig ended with wonderful finds and the discovery of several new interesting research areas. We will definitely continue excavations next year. On behalf of my team I would like to thank Sparbankssstiftelsen i Hangö, Hangö Sommaruniversitet, University of the Arts and Leica Finland for making this excavation season the best one in my over 30 year long career as an archaeologist in Finland.

A very special thanks goes out to all the wonderful archaeology students who worked with me in Hanko this season. Jasmin Jyrä, Anni Tolppanen and Jordan Paddison (University of Aberdeen) and Anu Varjo, Jenna Savolainen, Emmi Herranen, Lauretta Suomi, Jimena Biga, Toni Tossavainen and Teemu Väisänen (University of Helsinki dpt. of Archaeology).

Last but not least I would like to thank Jan Martti Kaila and Japo Knuutila for the painstaking work in combining photographic art and conflict archaeology in "Poetic Archaeology".

Without metal detectorist Lasse Nyman (Suomen Metallinetsijät r.y.) we would never have found many of the now excavated areas.

Below are a few pictures of yesterdays and todays finds from our conflict archaeology dig 14-16.10.2016.

Field made ring.

Kantine purchase ring.

Name tag for rifle.

"Organisation Todt Erkennungsmarke".

Broken "Helsinki Souvenir" mirror.

Field made ring with the year 1944.

Trial excavations underway.

Friday 14 October 2016

Deutsches Lager Hanko, the October dig 14-16.10.2016.

Today we kicked off the last leg of the 2016 excavations of "Deutsches Lager Hanko" a German transition camp in Hanko S. Finland. Grey skies and a chilly plus 5 degrees C but the finds kept us warm.

Autumn in Hanko.

We made trial excavations in two separate areas of the camp. Below are a few of todays finds. I will update with more pictures tomorrow when we will be excavating fro a full day (today we only did three hours of excavating).

Thursday 13 October 2016

Stone age- and conflict archaeology at Gymnasiet Lärkan

Today I visted "Gymnasiet Lärkan" in Helsinki to speak about conflict archaeology and archaeology in general to a group of students as part of their history class. I was invited to talk here by their very talented history teacher Martin Nugent.

The piano (played by students) in the entrance hall was absolutey stunning!

Lots of internationalism on the agenda obviously, as well as hands on ethical osteology, intriguing discussions on isotope and DNA analysis as well as relevant metal detecting issues. It was 90 mins of pure fun for me and apparently also for the audience.

Wehrmacht "Affe" tornister hook from "Deutsches Lager Hanko".

It is always nice to witness how well the educational system in Finland works. Hope to see students from this amazing school again during excavations in Hanko and my digs elsewere in Finland in 2017 :)

Sunday 9 October 2016

Pristine Corded Ware Culture dwelling site documented and excavated in a forest in Raseborg SW Finland

Things looked very good from the beginning when last May we made some  promising small scale trial excavations in an area well above the previously well excavated Early Comb Ceramic dwelling site at Långåmossarna in Raseborg SW Finland.

We had already found quartz flakes here in the 1990´s but as we thought that the finds were related to the early comb ceramic period we didn´t consider the area worth exploring earlier. Surprisingly the finds from the trial pits in May/June 2016 included  quartz flakes and potsherds attributable only to the Corded Ware culture.

Yesterday and today we extended the trial excavations and the results were overwhelming. Two hearths (both attributable only to the Corded Ware Culture) and structural settings maybe related to a building that once stood here.

Finding a well preserved neolithic site like this at this somewhat late time of my archaeological career is fantastic news. Next year me and archaeologist Janne Soisalo will probably continue work where we left off today. Can´t wait :)

The trial excavations were financed by "Karis Musei- och Hembygdsförening" and "Sällskapet Natura" both in Raseborg, Finland. I was accompanied by wonderful students from the University of Helsinki dpt of Archaeology and very skilled local history enthusiasts,

Thursday 6 October 2016

Beautiful Neolithic clay figurines found in Sweden

The figurines are strikingly similar to the ones found on  the Åland islands. According to archaeologist Niklas Björck (Riksantikvarieämbetet) they can be dated to around 2500 BC. This would make them approximately 800 years younger than the figurines from Vantaa Jokiniemi.

The find site is described as a seal hunting camp in the outer archipelago. outside the parish of Åkersberga.

More about the find here (in Swedish)

Monday 19 September 2016

School days

Tomorrow is a great day as I will be travelling to Hanko S, Finland to reconnect with students from the may/june conflict archaeology dig of "Deutsches Lager Hanko.

Students digging into the WW2 history of Hitler´s war in the north.

I will be participating in a panel discussion with the students of Hankoniemen Lukio and the "International History Class". The students  will be presenting their research around WW2 in Hanko and I will be commenting on their research results from a conflict archaeology point of view.

Let´s see what the students have to say about the archaeological finds :)

Friday 16 September 2016

WW2 "DEUTSCHES LAGER HANKO" excavation 14-16.10.2016 !

German WW2 RAD pin from Deutsches Lager Hanko.

I can finally confirm that we will be excavating and surveying "Deutsches Lager Hanko" on October 14-16th (Friday-Sunday). The excavation is open to anyone interested in world war two history. There is no participation fee. Work on site will be from 10-18, no previous experience  of conflict archaeology is required.

German and Finnish dogtags found during the 2016 excavations.

The research is part of my doctoral dissertation about the large German WW2 transition camp in Hanko, Tulliniemi S. Finland. We are working in close co-operation with the Finnish defence forces and the police. The excavation is financed by Hangö Sommaruniversitet.

German wound badge from "Deutsches Lager Hanko".

The town of Hanko offers several inexpensive accomodation alternatives this time of year. For accomodation in Hanko check out

Please send your letters of interest to as soon as possible!

See you in Hanko!


Sunday 4 September 2016

Back home from the EAA (European Association of Archaeologists) annual meeting in Vilnius, what a fantastic experience!

I had the great priviledge to join some 1500 fellow archaeologist for a few happy days in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Vilnius (the old town), view from my hotel.

I participated in a few sessions and held a presentation about the large scale community archaeology digs organized by HEUREKA the Finnish Science Centre 1990-1994 and 2014-2015.

From the excavations in  2015.

Of course it was mostly about the anthropomorphic clay figurines found there but I also gained some new good contacts in the field od Neolithic Research.

One of the many venues.
Two of the Neolithic figurines from Vantaa Jokiniemi and below one from Gipka in Latvia.

I have to say I enjoyed my stay very, very much. After a hectic 2016 field season the days in Vilnius felt like a holiday. I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to the arrangers as well as all the wonderful archaeologists from Scandinavia, Russia and Belorus and Finland I met in Vilnius. Next year the annual meeting of EAA will be in Maastricht, hope to see You all again there!

Thursday 25 August 2016

Almost autumn... the 2016 dig is almost over.

Despite of the 2016 main archaeological excavations of "Deutsches Lager Hanko 1942-1944"  beeing over for the summer season, we are still continuing documentation work as well as and small scale digging at the site until snow falls.

Below are a few finds from our latest visit to this (for Finnish circumstances) extraordinary large and well preserved WW2 site.

A well preserved German "Likör" bottle from the Benedictiner Monastery of Ettal in Bavaria Germany..

Kloster Ettal.

Below are some small telltale items of the "Waffenbruderschaft". Finnish porcelain lemonade and beer  bottle caps.

 "Helsingin Virvoke Oy" (Helsinki)

"Aura" brewery (Turku).

I would like to thank "Hangö Sommaruniversitet" for understanding the value of the Community Archaeology effort of this project as well as the Scientific part in 2016.

Last but not least I would like to thank the Finnish Defence Forces and the Finnish Police (Raseborg district) for their support and help in 2016. We are of course beeing extra careful when researching the area but we need your co-operation and help now and in the future 2016-2018. I´m looking forward to our meetings in the upcoming weeks.

An unexploded , highly dangerous 81 mm mortar grenade found during our research and promptly removed and dismantled by the Finnish Defence Forces/Police authorities in July 2016.