Archeologists studying fields of Maardu for signs of early agriculture

Archeologist. Source: ERR

In Liivamäe Village near Maardu, archeologists are searching for signs of agriculture, which could date back to about 1,500 years prior to what has been previously thought.

A completely regular-seeming piece of land and data gathered during excavations tells archeologists much more than what the eye can see. For example, they notice plant beds and piles of rocks which were dug out when a hook plough was used to remove rocks from the field, ETV's daily affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported on Thursday.

"And later, when this field was tended to again and again, rocks came loose and they were tossed aside. And then the area was ploughed again and a small field bed developed. And as is often the case, we have piles of boulders in the corners of fields and they are also connected to these small plant beds," said Gerly Vedu, an archeologist.

To determine the period when the field was used, archeologists search the soil for coal, which can be dated at a laboratory in Lithuania. A special method is used to tell the age of the coal.

"Before this field was cultivated, the vegetation was burned. The vegetation was burned and then it was ploughed, which increased the fertility of the field even further. And that coal which has been left behind from previous burnings could still be there under the piles of rocks and plant beds," Vedru explained.

Liivamäe Village's fields were discovered in the 1990s and the remains of the field were mapped. Archeologists are back on the field now to gather all the information possible to exactly date the history before the area is developed for real estate.

"The earliest dates here come from 1500 BC and from 1500-1300 BC, but there is a massive amount of datings from the Early Bronze Age and the Pre-Roman Iron Age," Vedru added.

To find coal, the field is dug up until rocks are found and they will then be taken for cleaning. There have already been coal findings and even animal bones on the barley and wheat fields.

Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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