The Okhta 1 Neolithic-Early Metal site is the first archaeological object in the St Petersburg region with a well-preserved wooden construction. The site was occupied by ancient people several times during the Neolithic Age, in the Early Metal Age periods, from 7,000 to 3,000 years ago. The remains of wooden structures (stakes, treated wooden slats and rails, and piles) were found. Features of the micro-relief of the site, its stratigraphy and archaeological observations have allowed us to locate an earlier coastal fishing zone located on the shore of the gulf, and a second fishing and living area connected to river channels. The archaeological collection includes archaeological finds: pottery, stone tools, products of organic matter and wood, and amber ornaments.
The vast majority of Estonian Bronze Age (1800–500 cal BC) large metal items (axes, spearheads, sickles) are single stray
finds. In contrast, bronzes from settlements are mostly associated with on-site metal casting (casting waste and broken objects),
and burial sites have yielded objects of a personal nature, e.g. tweezers, razors, and clothing-related items such as buttons.
Some of the stray finds have been linked to possible settlement sites. Deposition in bodies of water has been suggested as an explanation for a couple of items. Although deemed to have been precious prestige items, the reasons for their seemingly contextless find situation have until now not been systematically explored. This study addresses the character of the find locations. To infer the original deposition environment, archive material and topographical and geological data were combined. The results indicate site-specific patterns in the distribution of artefacts, with a preference for wet contexts (especially rivers). This is particularly well illustrated by two regions with bronze items from both the Early and the Late Bronze Age: Kumna in northwest Estonia, and Reiu in southwest Estonia. The patterns noted suggest intentional human activities, possibly related to the phenomenon of depositing bronzes on the landscape, as is identified in other parts of Europe.
Although hill-forts from the end of the Bronze Age and the beginning of the Iron Age associated with Lusatian culture appear in vast areas of modern Poland, they are absent in Pomerania beside the Lower Oder region. This scarcity is surprising, especially taking into account the relatively numerous appearances of hill-forts in Greater Poland, the region directly neighbouring Pomerania to the south. On the other hand, investigations conducted in the 1960s and 1970s to verify Pomeranian hill-forts described as originating from the Early Medieval and Medieval periods resulted in the detection of at least a dozen sites with material from the Late Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age.
The aim of this paper is to present the problem of the supposed presence of Lusatian culture hill-forts in the central part of Polish Pomerania. It is highly probable that this kind of settlement played an important role in interregional contacts between eastern and western parts of Pomerania, together with Greater Poland and probably also Nordic Bronze Age zones. In a wider perspective, their role in the course and working of the Amber Road at the end of the Bronze Age should also be taken into account and investigated. It seems that new tools available for archaeologists, like Lidar data, modern geophysics and aerial photography, may provide new openings and new perspectives on research into this case study.
This article brings together the main research findings of recent years relating to tenth to thirteenth-century trading equipment from present-day Latvia. Finds of collapsible scales and weights from all regions of Latvia have been mapped and investigated. These include finds from archaeological sites in the Zemgale and Kurzeme regions that have previously not been extensively analysed. Issues relating to the chronology of the scales and weights are discussed. The main trade routes and the dynamics of trade contacts are determined, based on the distribution of the material in different regions.
Finds of decorated hammers or axes made of elk antler are rather rare in Estonia. One axe comes from the River Pärnu, and another from the Otepää hill-fort and later episcopal castle site. In addition, there are two almost identical hammers: one was a stray find from Harju county, and another was found in the Medieval town of Tartu. The two stray finds have no connected items that would enable their dating. The other two examples originate from contexts that cannot be dated exactly. The aim of this research is to find parallels to help us date the Estonian items, to ascertain the material and tools used for producing these items, and to discuss on the basis of the former, and an analysis of the find contexts, the probable areas of usage and meanings of these items. Although it is not possible to date these antler objects precisely, they probably come from the end of the Estonian Prehistoric period or the Middle Ages: the 11th to the 15th centuries. The function of the items is also not definite. Tools in the shape of a hammer were probably used as hammers. It was not possible to use any axe-shaped object as an axe, so assumptions about their function are still just speculative.
The Virumaa province in northeast Estonia is the area with the biggest concentration of ‘Hanseatic bowl’ finds in Europe. The finds originate mostly from deposits, often consisting of sets of numerous items. This article suggests a connection between these finds and the Danish crusade to Estonia in 1219, interpreting the bowls as the king’s gift to new subjects for their loyalty, also looking at a possible broader context, and drawing hypothetical parallels with the Danish crusade to Samland and Prussia in 1210.
The vallum in lacu (rampart by the lake) mentioned in 15th-century written sources as part of the Medieval landscape of Ostrowite (East Pomerania) has been researched by archaeologists and antiquaries since the 19th century. A wide range of noninvasive archaeological prospection methods were applied at Ostrowite in 2010-2015, including magnetic gradiometry, earth resistance, aerial photography, intensive field-walking, geochemical (phosphate) prospection, and the analysis of Airborne Laser Scanning. They were supplemented and verified by small-scale excavation work. This vast set of prospection methods was integrated into a Geographical Information System (GIS), and combined with an analysis of written sources, and allowed for the identification of a previously unknown ring-fort, which for the last 15 years has gone unnoticed by researchers conducting annual excavations in its vicinity. Its discovery and identification were only possible due to the integration of results from various methods, particularly non-invasive ones.
Old Rus’ culture has long been perceived as a given fact, beyond dispute. Its successive connection with authentically Slavic cultures dating back to 700-1000 AD could be clearly traced retrospectively. But archaeological data accumulated over recent decades shows that material from Initial Rus’ (ninth to eleventh centuries) looks more like a heterogeneous conglomerate of different traditions and cultural elements than a stable structure. The key to understanding the process of innovations observed over this period, as well as their cultural and anthropological mechanisms, should be the study of the ‘elite’, a socially superior group of the population. Such a project is now being developed in the Department of Slavic-Finnish Archaeology at IHMC RAS. This review gives the most important results obtained to date, including a modern formulation of the problem in its various aspects, and the latest important publications.