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Archaeologist: Last year's most exciting find 5000-year-old axe

A metal chopper, or small axe, about 5000 years old.
A metal chopper, or small axe, about 5000 years old. Source: ERR

An exhibition featuring the most interesting archeological finds of 2023 opened in Tallinn's Great Guild Hall (Estonian: Suurgild). According to Ulla Kadaka, head of the Estonian Association of Archaeologists, the most notable find is a metal hand axe from the Late Stone Age.

"About 220 archaeological surveys were carried out in Estonia last year. It is rather difficult to choose between them," Kadkas said on the exhibition's opening on the "Terevisioon" morning program. The final selection included 17 sites from across Estonia, including both rescue and scientific excavations.

Last year, some of the biggest excavations were done in Tallinn on the Reaalkool sports ground. "This was the outskirts of the Karjavärava in the Middle Ages, and a fortification stood here from the 18th to the 19th century. "These medieval layers were beautifully preserved here," Kadakas said.

She said that the excavations on the high school grounds have yielded some of the most exciting finds, for example, a piece of Venetian glass from a 13th- or 14th-century. "It's a very luxurious object. We have finds from Viljandi and Tartu, but finding such a fragment in the suburbs of Tallinn is a welcome addition," the archaeologist said.

Another find is a pottery sherd with a barrel relief: "archaeologist Erki Russow, who is our ceramics expert, said it's a jug depicting Henri II, a 16th-century ruler of France," she said.

Among the more intriguing finds were the key to a medieval coffin lid, several seals, a pipe, a small swallow figurine, and various handles. Among the pottery fragments on display is a glazed rabbit-shaped dish lid made in Siegburg.

A 17th-century glass foot is also on display. "Monika Reppo, our glass curator, said it was made in Central Europe, but also in our won workshop in Hüt (village in Hiiumaa -ed.)," Kadakas said.

The find probably comes from Lääne-Viru County, but Kadaka said the object's origin needs to be clarified. "The heritage agency received the object from a collector, but the person is not the one who found it. I hope the finder will contact the agency to clarify its origin," she said.

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Editor: Airika Harrik, Kristina Kersa

Source: Interviewer Reimo Sildvee.

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