Tuesday 29 March 2022

Explore the stone-age origins of Helsinki this summer

It´s official! Registration for the upcoming archaeology field course  starts on Thursday the 31st of March at 10.00 a.m. (Finnish time). No previous experience of archaeology or archaeological excavations is required and children under 14 years of age can participate in the company of an adult. The excavation is fully booked but you can register on the waiting list.

Archaeology for all ages.

The excavation site dates to the neolithic stone-age (3700-3300 BC) and has proven very rich in finds. Typical finds include ornate pottery, flint arrowheads and amber pendants among many other things left behind by the stone-age inhbitants.

Well worn flint dagger and a neolithic potsherd found during excavations of the site in 2018.

The excavation is located only 15 minutes from Helsinki city centre and is easily accessible by train or by bus. The excavation is arranged by Helsinki Summer University. 

Register on the waiting list here!

Saturday 19 March 2022

"Porkkala 1944-1956" Field Course in the Archaeology of the Cold War

What could be more relevant in these worrying times in Finland than a Community Archaeology field course in the Archaeology of the Cold War in the larger Kirkkonummi region. Registration starts on June 1st 2022.

The Cape of Porkkala has been a central place throughout history. It is also a strategic place as The Gulf of Finland was crossed at the narrowest point here. As early as in the Middle Ages the Danish King Waldemar II Sejr mentioned a place named "Purkal" in his descriptions and in 1944 the naval base of the Soviet Union was named after this strategic place.

The strategic location of the Soviet military base in Porkkala 1944-1956. Photo Degerby Igor.

After September 1944 the Porkkala region was evacuated and became a closed off area to its former residents. After the civilians had been forced to leave a huge Soviet military base was built in the area. Shelters and command posts providing protection in case of nuclear war and two airports were constructed, one for fighters and another for the frontier guard planes. The small town of Kirkkonummi became the centre of the base.  Soviet civilians also moved to the quite selfsufficient region with their own collective farms, shop, school, cinema and hospital. In 1956 the area with its many massive cold war period constructions was returned to Finland.

By the border to the military base in 1956. Photo Porkkalan Parenteesi.

The Cold War Conflict Archaeology project will start with lectures, a tour to the research areas and small scale trial excavations 30.9-2.10.2022. From here the project continues with yearly excavations  and other associated research until 2026. 

Soviet fortified shelter in Porkkala. Photo Retkipaikka.com.

Registration starts on the 1st of June 2022 at Kirkkonummen Kansalaisopisto https://www.kirkkonummi.fi/kansalaisopisto. The maximum number of participants is only 20 so you need to act fast in order to secure your spot. No previous knowledge of archaeology is required. The multidisciplinary research is done in co-operation with Raseborgs Museum and Degerby Igor Museum.

Friday 18 March 2022

Newly found stone-age clay figurines from the Åland Islands

Sometimes the most intriguing finds are the smallest ones. The miniature clay figurines made by the neolithic stone-age seal hunting population on the Åland islands around 4 000 + years ago offer a journey into the animistic mindset of our stone-age ancestors but also tests the limits of Scientific Archaeology itself.

Picture from the Jettböle excavations. Photo Björn Cederhvarf. 

In the very early 20th century Finnish archaeologist Björn Cederhvarf made a series of excavations of the Jettböle site on Åland and found many strange clay artefacts until then unknown to the archaeological community. Named "Clay Idols" because of their supposed use in rituals the use of these items have been debated ever since. 

Clay Idol from Jettböle. Photo Finna archives.

Sensational new finds of several fragments of these kind of "Idols" from the Ge 16.9 site situated in Geta in the N. part of the Åland islands in July 2021 may finally shed light on the use of these strange and intriguing items. 

Head fragent of a "Jettböle Type" clay figurine found in July 2021 during community archaeology excavations of the Geta 16.9 site. First photo version Marjo Karppanen. 

The Scientific research of the newly discovered figurines has only just started and will be done in co-operation with local archaeologist and PhD researcher MA Jenni Lucenius (University of Turku) . In  2022 and in the years to come more  archaeological excavations will be conducted on the site.  The community archaeology excavations are supervised by PhD resarchers MA Jan Fast and MA Janne Soisalo (University of Helsinki) with funding fom MEDIS (Mariehamns Medborgarinstitut).  

Another clay figurine fragment. Photo Janne Soisalo.

We can not thank the staff of "Ålands Museum" and especially archaeologists Jan Storå and Niklas Stenbäck enough for making our research of the stone-age of the Åland islands possible. A very special thanks goes out to Siv Ekström MEDIS (Mariehamns Medborgarinstitut) who believed in our idea of starting community archaeology excavations on the Åland Islands  

From the Ge 16.9. excavations in 2021. Photo Jan Fast.