Medieval and early modern objects, as well as the walls of houses dating back to the Great Northern War, have been discovered during the construction of a building for the University of Tartu in Tartu city center.
Behind the main building of the University of Tartu, on the corner of Jakobi and Munga streets, construction has been ongoing for a year. Archaeologists are busy as well because after the removal of the asphalt layer, walls of houses from the medieval and early modern times were revealed.
"The study area is several thousand square meters. Basically, when Tartu was destroyed in the Great Northern War, the walls remained. So to say, we opened an early modern time capsule, the whole quarter has remained exactly the same as it was in 1708 when it was destroyed," said archaeologist Rivo Bernotas.
Besides the walls, several smaller findings have been discovered. For example, a commemorative token from 1545, distributed during the Jodokus von der Recke's consecration ceremony on becoming the bishop of Tartu, which has never been found before in Estonia.
"We have found several hypocaust ovens, which was a medieval heating system. We have found waste from other ovens, all possible household items," Bernotas said.
A lot of animal and fish bones have also been found, which allow for the studying of the eating and livestock habits of a medieval resident of Tartu. Bernotas said the best findings are probably three-four meters deeper from the layer currently studied.
"It's always a great and exciting feeling to contribute to another piece of the historical puzzle. It doesn't happen every day that you get to study several thousand square meters of the old town's heritage reserve area," Bernotas noted.
Editor: Roberta Vaino