Estonian-Russian archaeology seminar

10th – 12th October 2013, a student seminar on archaeology took place in Tartu. There were performers from Pskov, Gdov, Velikie Luki, , Sankt-Peterburg and Tartu. All of the students presented their current research topics and newest results. All in all, there were 19 different performances and short discussions. During the seminar, the students had the possibility to get to know others’ research topics, ask questions and commingle.

The three-day official  event was closed with a round table to discuss further co-operation between Estonian and Russian students. Noting the success of previous student seminars, it was decided to have one more seminar in autumn 2014. Also, in order to share field-work experience and technical knowledge, emerged a plan to organise a field seminar. The week-long seminar is planned to take place in summer 2014, but details about the event are still open.

The seminar in Tartu included two field trips: one to archaeological places near Otepää and other to some hill-forts and graves in Võrumaa.

 Anu Kivirüüt

University of Tartu

Archaeological and ethnological fieldworks in Setomaa in 1937 and 1938

On October 4 an international conference, dedicated to the results of archaeological and ethnological field works organized by the Museum of Man (Paris) in Setomaa, south-eastern Estonia in 1937 and 1938, took place in Värska (Setomaa). The fieldworks were initiated by the famous Russian emigrant writer, Leonid Zurov, and accompanied by Boris Vilde, the organizer of the Resistance movement in France during World War II. During these expeditions ca. 260 archaeological monuments were recorded and information about them, as well as numerous archaeological finds were delivered to the University of Tartu. The output of the fieldworks is also seen in 442 photos and 379 ethnological artefacts that reached the collections of the Museum of Man.  The most important documents of the fieldwork materials are two reports written by Zurov: a general survey (78 pages) and a report about the cult of stones, trees and springs in Setomaa (50 pages). These materials have not been available for the Estonian, Russian and Seto communities until recently.

The archaeological information collected by Zurov is extremely valuable source material and has been repeatedly used for finding archaeological monuments to present them to be protected by the state – both in the Estonian and Russian part of Setomaa.

During the conference, 15 papers concerning the results of the fieldworks of the 1930s were presented by Estonian, Russian and French speakers. The conference, greatly supported by the project “Archaeology, Authority and Community” took place in the framework of an international project launched by the National Natural History Museum (France) and established in cooperation with the University of Tartu, the Russian Museum of Ethnography and the Seto Institute. The aim of the project is to publish materials of the expedition. Three identical books of ca. 500 pages in Estonian, Russian and French are expected to be published in 2015. The books will contain, in addition to the published source materials, commenting articles from present-day researchers. The aim of the Värska conference was to prepare articles that will later be printed in the project output volume. On October 5th, meeting of the authors and editors took place:  practical and organizational questions concerning the publication were discussed.

The meeting was organised in Setomaa – the area of Zurov’s and Vilde’s fieldworks – with the aim to popularise archaeology among the Seto community and give feedback of the field works of 1937 and 1938. The conference, held in Värska Culture Centre, was attended by 54 participants from Tartu, St Petersburg and the Seto community, including the representatives of the community authorities and the museums of Setomaa. The conference was organised jointly by the University of Tartu and the Seto Institute. The aim of the forthcoming book is to popularise archaeology and to spread the field work results of 1937 and 1938 among the public, including the Estonain and Seto communities.

Heiki Valk

Archaeology Cabinet of the University of Tartu

Joint field inventory in Aluksne region and partners’ meeting

On the 19th of September within the framework of the international project «Archaeology, authority, community: cooperation to protect archaeological heritage» project partners from Estonia, Latvia and Russia took part in joint field inventory in Aluksne region. It was continuation of the joint field inventory of archaeological monuments in Pskov and Izborsk regions along the medieval route Pskov – Izborsk – Alūksne that started on 16th of September.

Inventories started with visiting Klementīnes, Staburovas and Fiku ancient cemeteries in Pededze parish, after that all partners visited Garjuru ancient cemetry in Jaunalūksnes parish, Spieķu cemetery in Ziemeru parish and Nametkalna and Siseņu hill forts.

Thanks to young Estonian archaeologists in one of the recent digging pits some ceramic fragments were found that give new information about chronology of the Siseņu hill fort. Experience exchange in such inventories is useful and helps to specify the character and chronology of the monuments.

In the evening partners met in Aluksne museum to discuss progress of the project and to specify the time plan of the project for remaining project period. Each partner reported about activities that are left to do and told the time of their planed implementation.

On the 20th of September a small-scale press conference with local press participation took place.

Partners gave an account of activities that they already have done in seventeen months. They also shared positive experiences that were gained during cooperation, like finding monuments that were in archive documents but not located in the landscape. Presentations were illustrated with photos were taken during joint field inventories, excavations and information events for local people.

The archaeology database was presented by Kaarel Sikk. The visualisation in different maps of the data from Excel files is prepared and there are possibilities to find information about the monuments by selecting period or monument type. At this moment access to the data base is limited only to the project partners but after all data will be collected it will be available also for researchers and specialists of local municipalities.

After presentations journalists had time to ask questions and partners return to the discussion about issues linked with the project implementation.

Project is carried out with the financial aid of “Estonia-Latvia-Russia cross border cooperation Programme within European Neighborhood and Partnership instrument 2007-2013”


Alūksnes novada pašvaldības
Projektu vadītāja