Esihistoria -luento

Archaeologist Wesa Perttola: The lecture of prehistory

We had this lecture about prehistory and specifially in Iitti at out high school. It was 4 th September by archaeologist Wesa Perttola.

Because it was a public event there were people hadn´t had the courses about ancient history so he told about it and cursorily about archeology. He show us bunch of diagrams and started it with a joke that he don´t know anything, but he managed to do so with some sort of dignity that diminished along the way.

Archeologists excavate and try to figure out things about history by examining things that people have thrown away some few thousand years before. He even said that their landfillsiks are our treasure chests. Also graves and other monuments help when archeologist figure how people lived long ago. The solutions they reach are always somewhat imperfect so we never can truly understand our prehistory.

He continued with timing methods the archaeology use:
  • typology is basically identifying items and putting them to their correct period.
  • in radiocarbon dating they determine radioactivity of carbonaceous materials; dating is quite accurate.
  • analyzing ceramics in different regions.
Perttola told us about Susiluola (wolf cave, with evidence of Neanderthal habitation about 120 000 thousand years ago. He showed us pictures of excavation there and told how dangerous it was because of the collapsing risk. It might not have been a permanent place fot them to living but a shelter from water.

Ice Age has affected the history of our nation. When Finland was under the massive block of ice the continent pressed downwards and when it was free of ice it started to rise. Our lecturer showed us maps of Finland in different times of rising, and there we saw that Iitti region was one of the first covered landmass of Finland (about 8 500 B.C) and therefore one of the first places to get human habitation.

People came from the Baltics, East and South. That was our Stone Age. We still used stone tools when Mesopotamia region started to rise and shine. He told us that we can recognize prehistorical place of habitation by quartz that was used a lot in that period.

Finland`s Stone Age is divided in three periods through the ceramics they used:
  • Suomusjärvis` culture about 8 500 - 5 300 B.C.
  • Comb ceramics culture 5 300 - 3 200 B.C.
  • Corded ware culture 3 200 - 1 700 B.C.
There are a few maybe the prettiest cave paintings of Finland here in Iitti. They can be found in the cliffs, near the waters. Perttola talked of few of them and showed pictures of them. The elk was the most usual theme. He continued by telling different meanings of those outdoor paintings of our precursors. They were related to the magic and foretelling and probably just to be enjoyed, which is odd when they are in places difficult to reach.

On Bronze Age (1700-500 BC) there have been only few discoveries of bronze items in Finland because of its price. Graves have enlightened the subject enough to give us at least a tiny glimpse to the past. There were two main ways of bury a person: Lapinraunio (a pile of stones somewhere high near water) and Hiidenkiuas (a bigger and more complicated pile of rocks. Hiidenkiuas was a more popular way in yhe north and in Iitti the Lapinraunio were more popular.

On Iron Age (500 BC - 1 150 AD) there haven`t been many researches in Iitti. Habitation was mainly centralized to the northern part of Iitti close up with the waters because they were the main travelling and trading way. It has also been suspected that Iitti´s Hiidenvuori had been a castle mountain, but there hasn`t been any evidence to support that assumption.

It was, as good as my skills allowed to be and to say at the end, it was, to tell the truth, truly a good lecture