Esa Hertell

MA, archaeology (University of Helsinki, 2005). Ph.D. student in archaeology since 2009 (University of Helsinki). Member of the Finnish graduate school in archaeology 2010–2013.

Postglacial human dispersal in the north (a case from eastern finland)

Esa Hertell, Mikael A. Manninen, Petro Pesonen & Miikka Tallavaara
University of Helsinki, Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Art Studies

Project abstract

Recent research in southern, eastern and northern Finland has pushed the known postglacial human presence in eastern Fennoscandia further back in prehistory and brought new light to the archaeology of the postglacial colonisation period in northern Europe. Excavated early postglacial sites (c. 8600−8000 cal BC) in these areas have yielded evidence of lithic blade production and blade artefacts of exotic raw materials, a trait in prehistoric lithic technology that is  virtually absent on later sites in Finland, and one of the focal points of the project.

Map 1. Main area of focus in North Karelia.

A long-term research agenda has been devised to study the dynamics of the colonisation process in eastern Finland, i.e., the time-scale and tempo of the process in the study area, the technological, social, and spatial organisation, and the selection and use of resources by early postglacial hunter-gatherers. This is achieved through analyses of existing assemblages in museum collections as well as new complementing fieldwork in eastern Finland with special focus on the area surrounding Lake Pielinen.  The fieldwork consists of intensive surveys on selected target areas, and excavation of sites located in the surveys. Together with existing data these provide the major database of the project.

Project fieldwork in 2010

  1. Excavation at the Rahakangas site in Eno, North Karelia, Finland. August 2010 (Petro Pesonen, Financed by Carelian Culture Foundation)
  2. Survey on the eastern shores of ancient Lake Pielinen, North Karelia, Finland. September 2010. (Esa Hertell, Mikael A. Manninen, Petro Pesonen, Miikka Tallavaara. Financed by the Finnish Cultural Foundation)

Selected publications

  1. Hertell, E. & Manninen, M. A. 2006. Lisiä tietoihin Pohjois-Karjalan säleistä ja säle-esineistöstä.Muinaistutkija 1/2006, 38–48. (Blade finds in northern Karelia)
  2. Hertell, E. & Tallavaara, M. in press. High mobility or gift exchange – Early Mesolithic exotic chipped lithics in southern Finland. In: Rankama, T. (ed.) Mesolithic Interfaces - Variability in Lithic Technologies in Eastern Fennoscandia. Helsinki.
  3. Kriiska, A., Hertell, E. & Manninen, M. A. in press. Stone Age Flint Technology in South-western Estonia - Results from the Pärnu Bay Area. In: Rankama, T. (ed.) Mesolithic Interfaces - Variability in Lithic Technologies in Eastern Fennoscandia. Helsinki.
  4. Pesonen, P. 2005. Sarvingin salaisuus – Enon Rahakankaan varhaismesoliittinen ajoitus. Muinaistutkija 2/2005, 2–13. (Early Mesolithic radiocarbon dates in northern Karelia and beyond)

Research interests:

  • Hunter-gatherer ecology
  • Foraging strategiesP
  • rehistoric technologies
  • Stone Age
  • Bronze Age
  • Northern Fennoscandia
  • Near Eastern archaeology.