Aerial reconnaissance in Northern and Eastern Estonia

On April 22, the National Heritage Board (Partner 2) carried out aerial reconnaissance in Northern and Eastern Estonia. One of the 30 inspected sites was Naistevälja grave-field. The probably Bronze Age stone graves are located mostly on a field, but during a field inspection in the beginning of April a small team of archaeologists – Maria Smirnova, Anu Kivirüüt, Ingmar Noorlaid and Tõnno Jonuks, also inspected the woodland areas to update the current situation with sketches from the first half of 20th century.

Aerial reconnaissance supplemented well the previous day-long search in the brushwood. We ascertained that at least eleven graves had been preserved rather intact and we were also able to identify several graves with the ones depicted on early plans. Unfortunately, not all of the imaged graves have been preserved; some stone heaps had been toted apart and in some fortunate cases, merely the bases of the former mounds were observable. Several previously found mounds were visible from the air and in addition to being an exciting experience the plane inspection was very helpful, especially in determining the grave-field borders and understanding the landscape.

The grave-field appeared definitely larger than we first thought and deserves both national protection and archaeological investigations. During aerial reconnaissance expert Tanel Moora turned our attention to some other areas nearby where the grave-field might extend and should be inspected. Further results may prove that Naistevälja grave-field covers an area larger than previously known.

PP 2