Finds

We have posted finds of the day and finds of the week on facebook and here, but this will be a short overview of everything we have found and done so far. A bit shorter in English than in Estonian. Again, sorry about that, but everyone is welcome to like us on facebook, comment and ask questions here or there.

Most of the finds are still in the zip-lock bags and are waiting for their turn to be washed, dried, renumbered and packed, but we have started a bit already. This process will take at least the whole winter.

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Maarja cleanin a spiral finger-ring with a paintbrush. Another ring is right to her in the jar with distilled water.

  • Fibulae:
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A whole ”pahksõlg”

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Head-shield fibula.

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Disc fibula, note the enamelled ornament in the centre.

Very common finds from Roman Iron Age are bow fibulae that work just as safety pins. These fibulae have been categorised in several different groups and subgroups. The typology allows us to determine their usage time with the precision of a few centuries . The earliest of the found fibulae was probably the ”pahksõlg” that was used in Lithuania during the change of 2nd – 3rd centuries AD.

  • Finger-rings:
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Spiral finger-ring

Most of the finger-rings were spiral which is rather typical to the era if tarand-graves. We also found a closed and rather large finger-ring with possible ornaments on it, but we are in the middle of cleaning it.

  • Bracelets:

Most of the bracelets were rather fragile.

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Käevõru.

 

  • Necklaces:

We found some parts of necklaces separately as well as connected:

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Two nice-looking bronze spirals.

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Bronze beads.

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Beads and spirals on am iron wire – fragment of a necklace.

  • Pottery shards:

Most of the pottery shards were found from the edges of the excavared tarand, especially the ends. That phenomenon has been noticed earlier, too. The more thorough analysis to see what kind of pottery shards from what eras were in which areas of the tarand and attempts to reconstruct some of the vessels will be done during winter.

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”quarter of a pot” – you can see the upper rim and the base of the pot as well as the lovely carinated wall.

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Shard with cord impression.

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Most of the pottery shards were like that.

Is some cases we did find rimsherds which makes the reconstruction a bit easier, hopefully we have enough of these kinds of fragments. In addition to the ”quarter of a pot” we found fragments of a small plate or some kind of a lid. The latter had the fingernail imprints of the maker.

  • Bones:

We did find both human and animal bones.

Quite from the topsoil we found some horse bones. These were a few foot bones without any cut- or scraping marks. Therefore we suggested that the bones got to the grave rather recently. About 10 cm from the topsoil, we found several rabbit bones, at least from two rabbits. As rabbit bones are quite common to find from stone graves, we will analyse these bones a bit closer – maybe the bones got to the grave from an Iron Age stew!

In addition to rabbits, there were bones of several small rodents who have probably died in between the rocks and the rainfalls have washed the bones deeper.

The amount of inhumed human bones was interestingly high for South Estonian tarand-graves. Earlier excavation sepoert have stated that they have mainly found cremated bones. As there were no osteologists at that time and most of the bones have not preserved, we do not know exactly ehrther that was true.

There were no intact skeletons in the grave, everything was commingled. The bones and teeth were scattered in between th stones. The amount of teeth was also surprisingly high – there were both deciduous and permanent teeth, mostly in very good condition. We noticed only two teeth with carious lesions, but we might see more after washing the bones.

 

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A proximal foot phalanx, no pathologies.

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The petrous portion of a right temporal bone aka earhole from the inside.

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Fragment of a long bone – probably humerus. One of the largest and longest fragments we had.

In addition to teeth we had quite a lot of finger- and footbones. One of the toes had ven a pathological condition – the proximal and medial phalanx had fused, so that the toe could not have been flexed any more.

  • Cremated bones:
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Three fragments of cremated long bones.

Large amount of the found bones were cremated. Most of these were small long bone fragments or bits from the cranial vault. Nevertheless, the amount of cremated bones was smaller than expected.

  • Glass:

Glass can be either good or bad for the archaeologists. We did find some fragments of oily-looking old fragile glass, but at the same time we found fragments of plexiglas from a corner. Hopefully someone had broken something and buried the shards in between the stones.

  • Charcoal

We also found less charcoal than expected. At least now it is certain that the dead were not cremated on the tarand-area we excavated this year. We did collect and packed in aluminium foil several charcoal, bone and pottery fragments for further radiocarbon dating and other analyses we might be able to conduct.

One we did not find were defined bone clusters. That would have been extremely useful for Anu as she is studying human bones and a defined bone cluster would have given information about how many people may have been cremated and buried together, whether all of the body parts were cremated or brought to the grave and much more.

 

More about the work and analyses in autumn.

 

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