Medieval artifacts found at Estonian Art Academy site

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Archaeologists digging at the site of the future Academy of the Arts have uncovered a trove of medieval artifacts, including several boxes of ceramic pottery, as well as silver coins, wooden dice, bone jewelry and a piece from a board game. 

Work at the excavation site [Credit: Postimees/Scanpix]

All sites for new buildings in Tallinn’s downtown area must undergo archaeological excavations. The Academy of Arts property sits on the edge of an ancient suburb of Tallinn, and is one of the largest turfs archaeologists have had the joy to unearth, reported Postimees. 

In many other archaeological sites, the more ancient cultural layers are often destroyed before researchers reach that deep. But diggers made it all the way to the medieval strata at the Academy of Arts. The plentiful ceramic findings are particularly useful for dating. 

Excavations have gone on for half a year. Initially, the project was supposed to be completed by the new year, but discoveries have been so abundant that the completion date has now become questionable. Also, rain is now threatening surrounding infrastructure, so research cannot resume until spring – that is, if the archaeologists are granted a deadline extension. The Academy of Arts is already way behind schedule in constructing its new building, and further digging could be another obstacle for construction. 

“We have an idea of how these old buildings used to look like, but information is too scarce to determine what else was here and what the buildings were actually used for,” said Guido Toos, head of the team that is conducting the archaeological dig. 

“But, for instance, we have discovered that there was a large flood here during the 15th century […] That is indicated by a 70-centimeter layer of sand on top of the soil. Geologists ascertained that this sand was transported here by the [now underground] Harjapea river.” 

Author: Ott Tammik | Source: ERR News [December 29, 2011]

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