Tuesday 31 May 2022

Back to Vävarsbacka II - A photographic flashback

Today was a rainy day so sadly no excavating. Instead I visitited a local school and told the students about my work in a lecture "Archaeology from the Stone-Age to the second World War". 

After the lecture I got a few wonderful pictures from the recent excavation of the stone-age dwelling site Vävarsbacka II in Porvoo. Happy times <3

All photos by Jemina Rajamäki 

Monday 30 May 2022

Day 7/13. Excavating the Kittiskoski E multiperiod dwelling site in Lohja SW. Finland

The weather was beautiful today at Kittiskoski when the first group of 13 year old Swedish speaking students from Källhagens skola dug into the stone-age find layers of the site. Everybody had their share of the finds and the day was a very carefree and happy one.

Ornate Typical Comb Cermic rimsherd (ca 3500 BC).

The students, teachers and archaeologists all enjoyed the sunny and warm weather which sadly will end tomorrw according to the meteorologist when a low with continuous rain will arrive in S, Finland from the south. This will force us to take "the show" indoors at least for tomorrow as the wet soil would be very difficult to excavate properly by the students.

21 students participated in the excavation today.

In order to check tha no finds go unnoticed archaeologist MA Janne Soisalo and archaeology student Katja Hippeläinen have been sieving all of the soil excavated by the students. This work too would turn very difficult during wet weather conditions.

MA Janne Soisalo instructing a student and sieving the excavated soil together with archaeology student Katja Hippeläinen.

Thumbs up that we can continue excavating again on Wednesday 👍

Wednesday 25 May 2022

Join us in exploring the Conflict Archaeology of the Cold War!

Immediately after the end of the Continuation War (Finnish-Soviet war of 1941-1944, part of the World War II) the USSR imposed, among other almost overwhelming demands, one particular condition: the areas west of Helsinki, around Kirkkonummi, Porkkalanniemi, Upinniemi and the fortress island of Mäkiluoto, were to be emptied of all population and leased to the USSR for 50 years, for the purpose of establishing a Soviet naval base (https://fennica.pohjoiseen.fi/)

Finland had no choice but to agree, despite the obvious threat to Helsinki and the need to evacute over 7 thousand additional people, along with hundreds of thousands others from the permanently lost Karelian territories. The base became known as "Porkkala Udd" in the USSR .

Although Finland fully expected that the USSR would hold on to this base until 1994 if not forever, the USSR managed to surprise it by returning it already in 1956, as geopolitical developments and high upkeep costs were apparently making the base rather impractical (https://fennica.pohjoiseen.fi/).

Registration for the first leg of the four year long project starts on June 1st 2022 at Kirkkonummen Kansalaisopisto. Please join us in our research right from the start by clicking on the link below. 

Porkkala 1944-1956

You can also send a letter of interest to jfarchaeology@gmail.com if you would like to participate in the larger scale fieldwork in 2023.

Tuesday 24 May 2022

Day 4/13. Excavating the Kittiskoski E multiperiod dwelling site in Lohja SW. Finland

Day two of the informal learning/pedagogic archaeology for schoolchildren part of the excavation. Today we excavated with some 20 students and two teachers from Ristin koulu. During the day I also had plenty of time to discuss pedagogic methods with schoolteacher Milaja Sippola.

Schoolteacher Milaja Sippola and archaeologist Janne Soisalo with boxed excavation finds.

The day progressed very well with approximately the same program as yesterday and by the end of the day both the archaeologists, the schoolchildren and the teachers finished off in a happy and relaxed mood.

At times the excavation area was "a bit" crowded.

The top find of today was a large quartz scraper alog with a fragment of a flint artefact, Typical Comb Ceramic ware, quartz and flint flakes and burnt bone. The students participated in marking the exact find spot for each find.

View towards NW from the Kittoski E site.

Tomorrow will be very busy with some 40 schoolchildren participating so its a good thing that we have had the time to practice our tasks with smaller groups first.

Monday 23 May 2022

Day 3/13. Excavating the Kittiskoski E multiperiod dwelling site in Lohja SW. Finland

Today was the first day of the 9 day long pedagogic archaeology and informal part of the dig with twenty-one 12 year old students from Rauhalan koulu participating. Upon arrival the students were divided into tree smaller groups who altered between three different activities during the day.

The first activity area was the archaeological excavation site. This was maybe the activity the students had been waiting for the most. Some really nice small finds turned up in the top layer including a fragment of an amber pendant.

Archaeologist Janne Soisalo supervising the students on th dig site.

The second activity area consisted of a stone-age quiz on a mobile app. After some initial difficulties this activity proved very good too and the students eagerly photographed the excavation finds, the excavation site and the beautiful nature. The most successfull student was awarded a 10 e gift card.

Students used their cell phones to add photos and answer questions about life in the stone-age.

The third part of this different school day consisted of walking a nature trail guided by a forestry expert. During the walk the students got accuainted with the different forest types in the area. In sunny and warm weather this too was much appreciated by the students.

Differen forest types in the area of the prehistoric dwelling site.

Sunday 22 May 2022

Day 2/13. Excavating the Kittiskoski E multiperiod dwelling site in Lohja SW. Finland

This day was all about the Neolithic Stone-Age with many finds of beautiful pottery from several different periods of the stone-age. The weather too was on our side and this day was the first that almost felt like summer <3 

Just a cpouple of minutes into the 2nd day of excavations we ran into a couple of concentrated areas with a multitude of well preserved potsherds. The oldest potsherds found today can be attributed to the Typical Comb Ceramic period (Ka II:2) ca 3900-3400 BC.

So called Typical Comb Ceramic ware ca 3900-3400 BC.

The second concentration of finds consisted of potsherds of so called Uskela or Late Comb Ceramic ware (Ka III:1) ca 3600-3200 BC. These clay vessels where only ornated with horisontal zones of pits or pitlike shallow impressions probably made with a bone.

Late Comb Ceramic ware ca 3600-3200 BC.

We also recovered more potsherds from the Corde Ware Culture dating to ca 3200-2300 BC. The find raised our hopes of finding more signs of this interesting stage in Neolithic Finland.

Corded Ware ca 3200-2300 BC.

For the next nine days we will be excavating with schoolchildren from several ocal schools and after that it will be back to basics again with two more days of excavation with the students from Hiidn Opisto. 

Our trustworthy companion Esa helped us out with clearing the excavation area for the schoolchildren but also had time to excavate two trial pits.

Saturday 21 May 2022

Day 1/13. Excavating the Kittiskoski E multiperiod dwelling site in Lohja SW. Finland

After a couple of days of rest it was today time to kick off the community archaeology excavation of the stone-, and early metal period dwelling site in Kittiskoski. To our surprise this day yielded the first middle Iron-Age potsherds ever found on this very interesting site.

Iron-Age potsherds from todays excavation.

Other datable finds from today were potsherds from the typical and late stages of the Comb Ceramic Cultures as well as one potsherd attributable to the Corded Ware Culture. The finds testify to the several thousand years of habitation of the site. 

Typical comb ceramic potsherd from todays excavation.

On this first day the excavation was attended by 17 persons. The participants were in for a surprise already from the start when the topsoil estimated to be about 10 cm:s thick proved to be three or four times thicker. Adding to this part of the cultural layer was still frozen solid after the cold spring. As a  result this first day of the excavation was mainly spent using the shovel.

Excavating layer one. 

So looking forward to tomorrow when we reach the  2nd and 3rd levels of the find layer. More Neolithic finds for sure but hopefully also some more items from the Iron-Age. Thumbs up!

The excavation area pre-excavation.

Wednesday 18 May 2022

Day 7/7. Excavating the Vävarsbacka II neolithic stone-age dwelling site in Porvoo S. Finland

Today was the last day of this years excavation of this beautiful neolithic site. The day was mostly dedicated to filling up the excavation area and cleaning up the surroundings. Despite this the site once again surprised us with a very nice find during the last hour of the excavation.

The flint knife probably had its tip broken off already in the stone age. The remaining part of the blade was preserved in the handle and discarded when the owner replaced it with a new one. The blade shows crackling possibly caused by fire. A beautiful last find indeed.

A fragmentary flint knife. The flint is of "eastern" origin.

The filling up was hard work, but the whole team made an excellent effort and by 1 PM the excavation area wasreturned to its original state.

Filling up the hole.

In the afternoon we made a small test pit to test the area of next years excavation. The finds were very promising so I think we have found the spot for our two week long excavation in 2023. A big thanks to Borgå Medborgarinstitut and all of the participants in this years field course. You rock!

Tuesday 17 May 2022

Day 6/7. Excavating the Vävarsbacka II neolithic stone-age dwelling site in Porvoo S. Finland

Today we focused on the documentation of a few very interesting features of the excavation area. During the almost one thousand years of prehistoric occupation of the site the stone-age inhabitants have dug several pits of different sizes on the dwelling site. Before documentation these areas need to be carefully "cleaned" so that the different details of the pits show up nicely on photos.

Jemina R. tidying up the cross-section of the largest stone-age pits in the NE part of the excavation area.

The pits were probably dug for a wide variety of different reasons. Most of them can be classified as trash or refuse pits, while others look like having been used as hearths, possibly for burning pottery.

The dark soil inside an oval shaped pit 1,5 m in diameter, shows up clearly against the coarse gravel surrounding it.

In the dark sandy filling of the largest of the pits we found potsherds, burnt bone and quartz flakes. In both of the smaller pits we found a few small quartz artefacts along with the chisels found before. The purpose of these smaller pits remains a mystery.

The stone-age pits with darker soil inside of them stand out in contrast against the bottom (gravel) layer.

Monday 16 May 2022

Day 5/7. Excavating the Vävarsbacka II neolithic stone-age dwelling site in Porvoo S. Finland

The fifth day of the excavation of the stone-age dwelling site once again offered several fantastic moments when neolithic finds kept popping up over almost the entire excavation area. Todays most spectacular and interesting find was a complete nail shaped chisel ("kynsitaltta").

Nail shaped chisel found today at the Vävarsbacka II excavation. Photo Minna Turunen.

What this tiny but very sharp precision tool was used for remains a mystery. It is associated to the later stages of the Comb Ceramic Culture ca 3600-3200 BC. The beautiful item was found only some 30 cm:s from the slate chisel that was found yesterday.

Excavating layer five. 

The excavation has progressed according to plan and tomorrow we will probably be excavating the bottom layers. Usually at this stage the excavation site provides something unexpected, let´s see what tomorrow will bring.

The situation on May 12th and today on May 16th 2022.