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Research History Research History

  Archaeological dig in Pahkakoski in 1960

The first known findings from ancient structures in the Kierikki area dates from the 1800's. The first excavations were carried out in the 1960's, when hydroelectric power plants were constructed along the river Iijoki. Foundations of ancient dwellings and various objects were found. Further excavations in the 1990's found that these dwellings had been an important settlement for nearly 2,000 years, roughly between 5,000 and 3,000 BC.

Kierikki: 7,000 years ago

Kierikki's oldest settlements, located in the Pahkakoski area, where inhabited around 5,000 BC by settlers that had migrated from the east along the river Iijoki. Migrated salmon and seals attracted the settlers, who were able to gather all the food sources they needed from their immediate surroundings. At that time, the skill of ceramic-making was introduced to Finland, probably from the southeast. Ceramic pottery was used for a variety of tasks and for example, to store provisions.

Kierikki was inhabited all-year round until around 4,000 B.C. The area's natural resources were being used more and more efficiently and so the population grew considerably.

Seal skins and fat, or tran oil, were valuable commodities. The people at Kierikki were able to catch even more than they needed, due to their effective hunting methods. They were thus able to use the surplus to buy exotic goods from abroad; flint from the White Sea and amber jewellery from the southern part of the Baltic Sea. Through trade, they became familiar with foreign peoples and their customs.

Buttons made from sea amber from the Baltic, circa 3500 BC.

The state of well-being that grew during the typical comb pottery period (4,000-3,300 B.C.) added to the number of inhabitants, which necessitated even more effective methods of obtaining nourishment, more specific delegation of duties in the community and the organization of defence. Large, methodically carried out building projects, such as row houses and so-called "giant churches" (an enclosure of stones laid out in oval shape), were a consequence of the development of the community. 

At the end of the Stone Age, the construction of new kinds of large buildings began on the coast of the Gulf of Bothnia. A unique feature of the houses at Kierikki was the large constructed row-houses. These were rectangular shaped dwellings with wooden beam floors, which were joined together by corridors nearly three metres wide. There were five to seven residential lodgings in a row that was over 60 metres long.

More about Stone Age life at Kierikki, the objects found in the area and information about the research history can be seen on display at Kierikki Stone Age Centre.