DescriptionSearching for inundated Mesolithic and Early Neolithic at lake Saimaa, eastern Finland
The Saimaa Lake complex in eastern Finland has constituted one of the major water systems in the interior of Finland, transmitting technical and cultural influences between vast regions throughout millennia. In the earlier stages, the water level of the lake was relatively low. Due to the post-glacial land uplift and lake tilting, the Saimaa basin continued to transgress in the southeast direction and thus inundating the earlier lakeshores. Circa 6000 years ago, the Ancient Lake Saimaa reached its maximum extent, nearly 9000 km2 in size which culminated in the outburst of the Vuoksi River in the south ca. 4000 cal BC. Because of this, the Mesolithic and Early Neolithic sites predating the transgression are to be found under water and in wetlands surrounding the present-day lake.
An experimental project entitled ‘Lost Inland Landscapes’ was launched at the University of Helsinki in 2015 with the aim of finding paludified and submerged Mesolithic and Early Neolithic sites by means of wetland and underwater archaeology. On dryland conditions in Finland, practically all the organic materials from the Mesolithic and Early Neolithic have deteriorated, but in wet environments fairly much of them might have survived. A desk-based evaluation work constituted the basis for planning the activities of the project and archaeological fieldwork. A fieldwork period in wetland and shoreline areas was conducted in the southeastern Lake Saimaa area on the archaeologically potential hot-spots detected already in the preliminary desk-based analysis. Some new observations were made in peatlands and lake mud in the municipalities of Savitaipale and Taipalsaari and the results make it the most likely to discover well-preserved, paludified and submerged sites in the region in the project continuation in 2017.
|Period||21 Mar 2017|
|Event title||Socio-Environmental Dynamics over the Last 12,000 Years: The Creation of Landscapes V|
|Degree of Recognition||International|
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Project: Research project