Thursday, 29 May 2014

Hannu I. Miettinen in memoriam

I just received the sad news that Hannu I. Miettinen  the founding director of Heureka The Finnish Science Centre passed away on the 26th of May. I have Hannu to thank for so many things in my life. He was always supportive and positive towards me as a person and towards archaeology. I miss You so very, very much :(

Hannu I. Miettinen 1945-2014

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Nice neolithic flint arrowheads from Säterigatan today

It was "hotter than hell" but great finds awarded those participating in the Säterigatan excavation today.

Especially trial pit number two proved to be very interesting with many great finds, two flint arrowheads, seal bones a large amount of nice pottery and a hearth. Below are some pictures of assorted finds (to be continued).

Older "typical comb ceramic" ware 3900-3400 B.C.

Older "typical comb ceramic" ware 3900-3400 B.C.

"Pyheensilta" ware 3200-2800 B.C.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Back to Säterigatan 23-25.5.2014

For part two of the trial excavation of this wonderful Comb Ceramic (ca 3900-3200 B.C.) site. It´s going to be a hot weekend with plenty of interesting finds. This time we are going for the upper limit of the site as well as the lower one. I hope to finally be able to see some real differences in the horisontal stratigraphy of the site too. Our excavation crew consists of 15 amateur archaeologists and two very good students from Helsinki University dpt of archaeology.

The lover terrace of the Säterigatan dwelling site.

I will be posting a selection of the finds here starting tomorrow evening. Wish us luck and and a nice tan ;) the temperature should be around 29 degrees C,,,  :D.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Happy for Jussi :)

Last may I heard about ten year old "Jussi" from Helsinki who wanted to become an archaeologist.

"Jussi´s" own words in the Kevätpörriäinen magazine (april 2014).

The words written by by "Jussi" in the "Kevätpörriäinen" children´s school magazine touched me deeply and I decided to do all I can to try to  locate him and to give him and his family an opportunity to spend "one day as an archaeologist" with me. Today I got a call from Jussi´s headmaster and spoke with his mother on the phone.

Front cover of "Kevätpörriäinen 2014".

Jussi´s  dream will become a reality in july/august 2014 when he and his family will be participating in the HEUREKA archaeological excavations of the stone-age dwelling site of Jokiniemi. Welcome to the exciting world of archaeology Jussi!

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Planned trial excavations of the prehistoric site (Galtarby VI) in Västanfjärd SW Finland

For a couple of months I have been involved in what looked like a  basic excavation project, namely the trial excavation of a late stone-age site in Misskärr, Västanfjärd SW Finland. The project which in part was supposed to be financed by the local community was going as planned until today when the landowner simply said NO. After a very polite discussion we closed the book but sometimes I can´t help feeling bad about the fears landowners have towards archaeologists. In this case the landowner was afraid that the excavations might stop with the plans of building wind turbines in the area, the building of which he supported. So now it´s bye bye Misskärr but instead welcome Galtarby VI.

The Galtarby VI site in Västanfjärd (marked with blue arrow)

Galtarby VI was found by amateur archaeologist Hans Myhrman in 1991 but for some reason never reported properly. The finds consisted of quite a large amount of quartz and slate flakes from one small trial pit at an an elevation of about 20 m. asl. The location of the site  close to a lake or a stream could point to occupation during the late stone-age or more probably the early bronze age (ca 1200 B.C.). The best thing about the site is that it appears to be almost totally preserved.

I called the landowner today and he was very supportive and interested in the project so now it´s time to move forward and and apply for an excavation permit from the National Board of Antiquities. I feel very happy for the locals and especially the local schoolchildren which I would like to be part of the project.

Picture showing bronze age finds and life in the bronze age (used in Finnish schools ca 1930-1960 and later). The bronze dagger in the upper left hand corner is found in the area of Dragsfjärd near Galtarby.

Monday, 19 May 2014

School day (number 2) at Alppilan yläaste

Archaeology in Swedish for Finnish speaking students. Despite the very hot weather (+29 C outside and a few more degrees inside) and  the upcoming summer vacation the students were a blast of positive energy and good thinking. Many good questions surfaced and I felt very much at home in the classroom once again. Thank you so much for making me feel welcome, have a great summer vacation!!

In my lecture we talked about different aspects of archaeological fieldwork in different parts of the globe. I promised the students to send a link about the recent Inka mummy find, here it is!

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Lecturing about archaeology and loving it

Today I returned to "the crime scene" namely the Auditorium Virtanen at Heureka were the Jokiniemi excavations started almost exactly 25 years ago. The auditorium has just recently been almost completely renovated and the previously great acoustics are now just simply amazing. The staff was very friendly and polite too. My favorite place to lecture in Finland no question about it.

The renovated auditorium of Heureka

Some 100 people in the audience today, great eye contact with each and everyone and good solid questions from the audience. I´ll be seeing you all in the excavation trench in july.

The plan 

Archaeology, what a blizz...

Today is the day I´ve been waiting for for 20 + years. Back in the familiar welcoming arms of Heureka the Finnish Science Centre, doing what I do best and what I love the most.



Still  Rockin´

Love <3 Jan

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Meeting my 2014 Jokiniemi excavation team for the first time

Tomorrow I´m giving a lecture at HEUREKA about the excavations of the Jokiniemi stone-age dwelling site from 1990-1994. In the first part of the lecture I will be summing up what we know about life and contacts in the stone-age (ca 6500 BP to ca 5400 BP) after those excavations and what we would like to find out in july/august 2014 when we return to the site after a break of exactly 20 years.

I will also be talking about anthropomorphic clay figurines especially the similarities and the chronology of this one and similar figurines in the Baltic Sea area.

Anthropomorphic clay figurine found in Jokiniemi during the first season of the Heureka excavations (1990). 
Photo Harri Hietala for Heureka the Finnish Science Centre.

In the second part of the lecture I will focus on excavation techniques and other important issues of archaeological fieldwork. I will be happy to answer all possible questions from the 80 or so participants of the upcoming dig. 

Heureka excavations at Jokiniemi in1990. Photo Harri Hietala for Heureka the Finnish Science Centre.

I funny how I feel exactly the same as I did 20+ years ago when I did the same lecture in the same auditorium just before the 1994 dig.  The enthusiasm and excitement is kicking in, can´t wait to dig and see all those happy faces and dirty hands again ;).

Flint arrowhead in a very dirty hand. Photo Harri Hietala for Heureka the Finnish Science Centre.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Great day excavating the stone age of Raseborg

Great young people, some great finds and above all not a single drop of rain today.  Started out early (7 am) with archaeology students Vilma Tani and Emma Hirsimäki and drove straight to the town of Raseborg to fetch our digging permit from the landowner. After that straight to the stone-age dwelling site to prepare todays excavation before the students from Karis-Billnäs gymnasium arrived at 9 am.

We put up  small trial excavation area for the students maybe a little smaller than we planned because of fear of rain later in the day. No rain and  some 5 hours later we closed the test pit and headed home, feeling tired but very very happy. Thank You so much too all who helped make this day a very special one indeed.

We will be continuing to the site a few more times to do more test digging before the 25th of May when our excavation permit from the National Board of Aniquities expires. If you want to join please email me at

Monday, 12 May 2014

Säterigatan excavation tomorrow

And quite literally I´ve been working very hard for this one :).  Now "Goin´ Home".

See you all here tomorrow with HC photos and stories to tell about this very special comb ceramic "adventure".

It´s going to be a wet rainy day with good friends and great finds.


Friday, 9 May 2014

New info on the stoves of the German transition camp

I recently wrote about the interesting VW made stoves we found during our surveys and excavations of the German transition camp area. The Vokswagen markings were interesting in themselves but even more intriguing and somewhat mysterious were the letters O (triangle) T on the top part of the stove. Thanks to a good colleague of mine the mystery of the letters was solved today

The letters O T stand for "Organisation Todt"  a Third Reich civil and military engineering group in Germany named after its founder Fritz Todt It became notorious for using forced labor and especially prisoners of war during the last years second world war and under the supervision of Albert Speer.

The OT workers were however not strictly `slave workers´ as they are frequently described, because some were actually volunteers. Most were forcibly recruited, but were paid and not generally ill treated. The real slave workers were citizens of the Soviet Union, mostly from Ukraine.

With this information the story of  the "Ukrainer Lager" situated inside the German transition camp from 1942-1944 got a more sinister twist.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

The excavation permit for the Säterigatan excavation arrived today

So now we are really set to go with archaeology students Vilma and Emma from the University of Helsinki and the students of Karis-Billnäs Gymnasium. Please come and visit us if you have got the time or you happen to be in the area from the 12 th to the 25 th of may.

The research are is marked with an arrow on the map.

The first excavation day of this wonderful site from around 4000 BC will be on Tuesday the 13 th  of may and I´m expecting some very interesting finds this season as we will be charting the very center of the dwelling site. Depending on the finds we will make up plans for future excavations at the spot and probably "dig till we drop" ;) in  search of this type of ceramics...

"Östsvensk gropkeramik" or so called  "Eastern Swedish Pitted Ware".

Monday, 5 May 2014

Upcoming excavations this summer. Seems like I´m caught up between the stone age and WW2.

Today I had the privilege of meeting my excavation team from Karis-Billnäs Gymnasium a tight knit and very motivated group of young students. The excavation will start on the 13th of may. I will share pictures online of both the finds and the features here immediately when the first excavation day is over.

Happy graduates of this fine school.

I also received the long awaited list of participants for the "Jokiniemi dig" in late july/early august today. My first thought was like wow!!! All these people (80 in all) want to be part of this experience 20 years after I last took to the spade here. I´m really starting to feel the "Good Vibrations" again. This unique project will be so awesome. I will be lecturing about the excavation and meeting all the participants on may 15th in the auditorium of Heureka. Everyone be there  :).

Jokiniemi 1990 (Jan Fast, Matti Huurre, Eve Schultz, Anna-Liisa Hirviluoto, Mirja Miettinen)

Finally next week it´s also time for one more visit to the German WW2 transition camp area. This time in search of the long lost remains of the "Soldatenkino". I expect the are will be littered with finds covering the activities of the soldiers here.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

The "Mannschaftsbaracken" of the "Entlausungsdorf" are gone

This sad sight awaited me and Swedish archaeologist Anders Wikström when we visited the "Entlausungsdorf " area of the German WW2 transition camp on the 2 of may 2015. The remains were (and are) very dangerous and it was necessary to tear them down.  I would like to thank Axa Sorjanen, Stig Leivo, Vilma Tani, Heidi Moisio and Rafael Jern for their help in documenting and excavating the remains before their destruction. I would also like to thank the town of Hanko and the Freeport of Finland for all their help on a very short notice.

The WW2 conflict archaeology project will now concentrate on the surviving buildings and undisturbed activity areas of the camp.

Archaeology class in Karis-Billnäs Gymnasium tomorrow

After some very interesting weeks filled with WW2 conflict archaeology I´m finally meeting up with my stone-age excavation team, the lucky students and their teacher Jan-Erik Till tomorrow. The school is a very nice one indeed and situated in W Raseborg. I will be lecturing about archaeological excavation methods and other important stuff before the actual excavation that will take place a  few weeks from now.

Graduate students of Karis Billnäs Gymnasium

The students are participating in "archaeology class" and we will be excavating a stone age site from around 3800 BC with permission from the National Board of Antiquities. The site itself is interesting in many aspects. Previous trial excavations have yielded several hearths a red ochre grave and possible ceramics belonging to the Swedish Pitted Ware culture. Despite the excavation being a very small one I expect interesting finds and above all a very positive experience for the students participating :)

So called typical comb ceramic ware from around 4000 BC.