A week's archaeological digging at the site of a central Tallinn school has already yielded some noteworthy finds, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reports.
The area below the Tallinna Reaalkool on G. Otsa and Estonia pst., currently on summer vacation, was the site of a suburb of the capital since as early as the 13th Century, while during the Great Northern War of 1700-1721, a defensive system of bastions was overlaid on to that erstwhile residential area.
Ragnar Nurk of the City of Tallinn planning body's heritage protection department told AK that: "What makes this site so archaeologically promising is that the earlier layers of life activity beneath the ramparts are often very well preserved, and were untouched by later construction work," adding that the department is unaware of any other district in the city where finds have been left so undamaged by activity over the centuries.
The area is extensive, and the work is to continue through to the end of the year, AK reported.
The lower strata of soil, dating to the medieval period, has yet to be reached, though finds so far, from the early modern period, have already surprised archaeologists.
One of these is a porridge pot, a fully intact example which, while it might have been pretty run-of-the-mill at the time, is a unique find today, archaeologist Rivo Bernotas told AK.
Bernotas said: "The people who were using this pot 350 years ago would no doubt laugh about it making the national news nowadays, since at that time it was a typical and common household item. However, no examples had until now survived intact, which is what makes them unique."
Other curious finds include a cutlery handle, either from a knife of fork, made of bone and likely of Dutch origin, with an extremely detailed figurine carved out of it.
Fragments of oven ceramic also tell a story – with some of them emblazoned with Christian iconography which suggests a pre-Reformation date, likely late 15th to early 16th century, Bernotas went on.
The three-legged porridge pot, also known as a Graapen, was an ever-present right through the period in question, ie. the middle ages to the early modern era.
It has a opening at the side, through which the cooked food could be obtained safely. While fragments of such utensils had been found from archaeological digs in Tallinn before, no complete example had been unearthed until now.
The finds so far are only the beginning and so more interesting artifacts may well be brought to the surface.
The original AK slot (in Estonian) can be viewed by clicking on the video player below.
Editor: Andrew Whyte, Marko Tooming
Source: 'Aktuaalne kaamera', reporter Hanneli Rudi.