Archaeological excavations in Tallinn ongoing despite freezing conditions

The site at Roosikrantsi tänav in Tallinn in July.
The site at Roosikrantsi tänav in Tallinn in July. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Whie traditionally archaeologists do their fieldwork in the warmer summer months, excavations in mid-town Tallinn are ongoing despite the frosty conditions. Layers, hot tea and blowers allow for cultural layers to be studied in mid-February.

In July, archaeological findings were discovered during reconstruction work in Tallinn on Roosikransti tänav, near the Freedom Square (Vabaduse väljak). The findings led to the roadworks to be suspended while archaeological inspections took over the site in August.

Ethel, a worker studying the findings in the holes dug on Roosikrantsi tänav, said on Thursday that the conditions in the tent were perhaps even too hot when compared to Wednesday, ETV's "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported.

While fingers and toes tend to get cold, workers have the option of warming up in shelters during their workday. Ethel said she prefers the cold conditions over the summer months, when temperatures go above 25 C.

Rivo Bernotas, an archaeologist, said it is not too often that archeological digs of such capacity take place in the recent conditions. "Most of our work takes place in the summer and in more optimal weather conditions, but for us to be able to work now, we have put up a tent, blowers, heating and everything else that is necessary to conduct excavations," Bernotas explained.

Heating inside the tent works throughout the day and if the ground were to freeze, blowers are used to heat up the soil.

In the road section in question, a highway dating back to the Middle Ages has been discovered, along with a water pipe from the 16th or 17th century. To the archeologists' surprise however, it seems that after Danish king Waldemar II conquered Tallinn during the Battle of Lindanise in the 13th century, the first colonizers took settled in the area near Roosikrantsi tänav.

"The most important is the bedding from the early Middle Ages, after the conquest. Early settlers lived in this part of the city's territory, worked and acted around here and once the city walls were constructed in the first half of the 14th century, this area was left behind and a road was built," Bernotas explained.

Excavations on Roosikrantsi tänav are set to finish in the spring and the reconstruction works are planned to end in June.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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