Presented here are results of analyses of excavated skeletal material from the early modern period in Tartu, Estonia, for evidence of syphilis. Our understanding of the incidence of syphilis in Estonia, and the causes of its spread, are discussed. All of the skeletal samples that were positively identified for syphilis included evidence of bone lesions on the cranium. Percentages of remains with signs indicative of syphilis were found at a rate of 0.50%, which accords with a figure of 0.77% from Britain for the same period. Evidence presented suggests that syphilis was a problem not only in the metropolitan area of Tallinn, but also in the less populous cities of Estonia. It is concluded, given that the excavation sites represent different dates from the period, that syphilis was a significant health problem in early modern Tartu.
This article aims to compare the change of living standard in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia after joining the European Union. The characteristics of living standard are analyzing before joining the EU and after 2004. It is also compared changes of living standard characteristics after the economic crisis. Indicators of living standard, such as the average monthly gross wages, consumer price index, purchasing power, unemployment rate, at-risk-of-poverty rate and others are calculated and compared. The three Baltic states are not only compared with each other, but are also analyzed in the context of the EU. Thus, it can be stated that among the three Baltic States, Estonia is distinguished by highest living standard. Although before the integration Lithuania was ahead of Latvia, but now Lithuania was lower than Latvia by particular characteristics of living standard.
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.
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 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.
Volume 19 (2013): Societies of the Past: Approaches to Landscape, Burial Customs and Grave Goods, pp. 31–47
Several Estonian burial places with cremations were investigated in the period 1997 to 2011. During the research, various descriptive and metric data on cremated bone materials was observed. The present paper is an attempt to systematise and interpret the data collected, in order to provide some generalisations on Estonian cremations. A comparative study of graves on the basis of the minimum number of buried individuals and the number of determined bone finds in graves, as well as bone fragmentation, is presented. Radiocarbon dating (AMS method) of burnt human bones from six investigated graves was conducted in order to specify the usage time of the graves. Some conclusions on possible temporal changes and cultural differences in burial practices are made on the basis of these characteristics.
Volume 17 (2012): People at the Crossroads of Space and Time (Footmarks of Societies in Ancient Europe) I, pp. 46–59
The article describes a newly found deposit of natural amber in Estonia. The deposit was discovered in the village of Vintri on the Sõrve peninsula, on the island of Saaremaa. It is the first time when the site has been fixed and documented; the find site has been fixed and documented. All earlier literature on the natural sciences and archaeology claims that natural amber is not found in Estonia, or is only found occasionally as marginal stray finds. The article describes the newly discovered deposit of natural amber, and also refers to other possible find sites that are known, mainly based on oral information. The Vintri deposit is dated according to two different methods, and the article explains both results. The article gives an overview of archaeological amber finds in Saaremaa at the time, and discusses their possible origin and use.
Volume 15 (2011): Archaeology, Religion and Folklore in the Baltic Sea Region, pp. 22–30
In this article, I analyse places with toponyms connected with hiis (meaning ‘holy place’, usually associated with ‘holy grove’ in Estonian) in northern Estonia. Geographically, it is possible to distinguish between three main types of landscape for places of which the names include the word hiis: distinctive hills, plain fields, and isolated, hidden places. Research into holy places tends to focus on naturally prominent or spectacular places, which have shaped the view that holy places are usually situated on hills; but plain fields and other visually less attractive sites have been neglected. Here, I will give examples of different types of Estonian hiis-sites, and discuss the links between these places and other monuments, graves and cemeteries dating from different periods, and settlements and churches. Finally, the article points to the favouring of different landscapes selected for hiis-sites, and argues that the claim that only attractive sites are regarded as ‘holy places’ is not valid.
Volume 13 (2010): At the Origins of the Culture of the Balts, pp. 162–174
This study focuses on artefacts with serrated edges made of scapulae occurring in assemblages from Late Bronze Age fortified settlements in Estonia. They have usually been interpreted in Estonia as flax-working tools; but recently some doubts have been raised about this use. The article gives an overview of these finds both in Estonia and elsewhere, and discusses possible areas of their use.
Volume 11 (2009): The Horse and Man in European Antiquity (Worldview, Burial Rites, and Military and Everyday Life), pp. 37–47
In the article a survey is given of the information about horse and its exploitation in the Late Bronze Age in Estonia. Concerning the archaeozoological material the finds of horse bones in the Late Bronze Age are discussed. The analysis of finds discusses the bone artefacts connected with the exploitation of horse and artefacts made from horse bones.