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Archaeological artifacts discovered in Arctic Finland

YLE NewsEye on the Arctic

Archaeologists in Finland are celebrating the discovery of a number of artifacts in Lapland, Finland’s northernmost region.

A series of surveys by the forestry watchdog Metsähallitus has unearthed hundreds of hunting pits, several prehistoric habitations, pottery shards and a stone spearhead.

The most exceptional part of the archaeological find was a stone spear tip or a possible prehistoric knife, which was discovered close to the Norwegian border. The stone implement has been uncovered by high winds as it lay in a sand pit. Experts estimate that the rough blade had been used during the Stone Age or the early metal age, making it at least 2,000 years old.

“It’s amazing to find an intact object, because when we map ancient artifacts we usually only find fragments generated during the creation of these objects, in other words waste,” archaeologist Sami Viljanmaa said in a Metsähallitus statement.

The series of surveys was rolled out ahead of the demolition of an old border guard post at Munnikurkkio. The operation unearthed prehistoric dwelling areas north of the lake on the Ropi fells. Archaeologists also found pottery shards along the banks of the Lätäseno River. Previous pottery finds were concentrated only in one dwelling area in Kilpisjärvi.

The Metsähallitus surveys uncovered as many as 3,000 hunting pits, indicating that deer hunting was an important activity in prehistoric times. The researchers found two trapping systems along the river banks, in which ancient hunters had dug 80 pits to catch their prey.

Metsähallitus will continue its mapping exercises in northwest Lapland in the Kilpisjärvi area. The organization said it believes that several major finds are still to be discovered.

This story is posted on Alaska Dispatch as part of Eye on the Arctic, a collaborative partnership between public and private circumpolar media organizations.