Institute of History and Archaeology
Chair of Archaeology
An ever-present fact in the study of Archaeology is that ‘The truth isn’t easily pinned to a page. In the bathtub of history, the truth is harder to hold than the soap and much more difficult to find.’ But of course, we still try. My research interest is to better understand the impact of the Roman world on the peoples of the Eastern Baltic, who lived over 1000km from its northern borders. This is explored through the prism of globalisation theory, especially in the adoption and adaptation of ‘Roman’ material culture, by local peoples. This is primarily fuelled by better understanding the geo-temporal nature of the copper-alloy artefacts that survive in great numbers here, especially amongst the tarand grave areas of north-eastern Estonia. I am very much interested in the application of XRF on corroded copper-alloy artefacts, which can provide useful insights into chronological change if used in a qualitative way. It cannot exactly pinpoint the soap as yet, but it can at least tell us which part of the bathtub it is in.
My main research interests include the Stone Age of Eastern and Northern Europe, hunter-gatherers sites and settlements, Prehistoric housing and dwellings, settlements organization and landscape. My work is also related to the study of sources and ways of using of the lithic raw materials (Carboniferous and Silurian flint, first of all) during the Stone Age in Eastern Europe. My PhD project concentrates on the Stone Age Architecture of Estonia, and the data from the territories of Finland, Russia, Latvia, Lithuania and Belarus serve as comparative material. I participate in international multidisciplinary research projects in Estonia, Russia, Belarus and Latvia.
The aim of my doctoral project is to investigate historical periods of Middle Age and Early Modern Baltic history from a bioarchaeological perspective, focusing on the health and dietary aspects of human communities through the combined use of paleopathology and biomolecular archaeology. Human skeletal remains collected during previous excavations from different rural and urban locations in South-Eastern Estonia, covering the 13th-18th centuries temporal span, are being analysed to develop a pathological and dietary profile. From the pathological perspective, the individuals undergo a macroscopic examination to track down signs of metabolic, infectious, degenerative and dental disease. Bone and tooth samples are then employed for carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analysis for dietary reconstruction. The results will be integrated with further data from other coeval Estonian sites to reconstruct the general health status and variations within the populations. As a broader contribution to archaeological sciences, this study will explore the effects of disease on isotopic values in human bone.