Women's Potteries 5.000 Years Ago Baltic Circumstance


The researchers found the roots of the Pottery Pottery culture vessels, which were about 5,000 years old, and the regions they were moved to.

Throughout the Corded Ware Culture period, talented women craftsmen from Finland, Estonia and Sweden learned to make stylish and innovative pottery to the east of the Gulf of Finland. The Baltic states also had a strong network for pottery trade.

Did those traveling in the Baltic region during the Corded Ware Culture of the Late Neolithic were terracotta pots or artisans who made them? Was the archaeological remains in Finland imported or made from Finnish soil by skilled craftsmen in new construction techniques? These are questions that researchers are trying to answer in the most comprehensive and original archaeological ceramics work in Nordic countries.

The researchers charted the areas where the pottery was made, mapping the route of the Corded Ware Culture (2,900-2,300 BC) and the pots in the northern countries. The Corded Ware pots were very different from early Stone Pottery pots. They represented a new construction technique and form. Also, as a novelty, they were made of blended ceramic-or pottery-pieces mixed with soil.

Pottery pieces broken down in a microscopic picture of a Corded Ware cabinet and mixed in a cabinet dough. C: Elisabeth Holmqvist-Sipila

Eastern influences in Sweden

In Finland, Sweden and Estonia, there were at least 5 Corded Ware pottery production sites that participated in pottery trade around the Baltics about 5,000 years ago. Häme in Southern Finland was a Corded Ware pottery production area that could be counted as a semi industrial according to Neolithic standards. The products of this area spread to the coasts of Finland and Estonia.

Archaeologists for a long time assumed that the Corded Ware culture came to Sweden from the south. However, the Neolithic seems to have widespread Eastern influences in Sweden. It seems clear that these cultural people and pottery first came from Eastern Sweden, Finland and Estonia. This was not a one-time, one-way event. As the pots produced in Sweden were found in Finland and Estonia, many contacts took place bilaterally along the Baltic coasts along the Neolithic.

In traditional societies, those who made pots were usually women, and it was common for women to change where they lived after marriage. Corded Ware excavations show that the pots are mostly given to women as grave gifts. Moreover, as the analysis of European cemeteries showed, it was more likely that women would be displaced.

The Fin-Baltic region and Corded Ware, who first came to the Swedish coast, are likely to be learning women in the place where pottery is produced. These women began to use the knife in their new hometown and mixed the crushed parts of the pots they brought with them. This method was perhaps a way of preserving the old pottery made in previous countries, thus establishing a symbolic link with the members of their families and old communities in their daily lives.

The survey found that skilled craftsmen came from Sweden, especially from Estonia and Finland. Geochemical origins and cultural links point to imported soil containers coming to Sweden from these regions. Cultural similarities link the first Corded Ware communities in Finland and Estonia to the region east of the Finnish gulf, today on the territory of Russia.

This network of interactions proves that even in the Stone Age, the Baltic Sea, which links Finland to a wider European culture, is not an obstacle but a link between different communities.

Map of pottery trade in the Neolithic Age in the Baltic Sea. C: Elisabeth Holmqvist-Sipilä

International stone-carved facts in a pot

The study examined soil pots from 24 different excavation sites in Finland, Estonia and Sweden. The purpose of the study was to determine the geochemical components of the Corded Ware vessels and the location of the soil, ie the origin of the vessels.

This research was a project that required international and interdisciplinary collaboration between archaeologists and physicists from Finland, Sweden and Estonia. Elisabeth Holmqvist-Sipilä, who works in the Helsinki University Archeology Laboratory, is leading this research project funded by the Finnish Academy.

According to Holmqvist-Sipilä, "This prehistoric international phenomenon can be clearly seen in simple and everyday objects, such as old pots broken into dishware and bull clusters. In the past, the pots were so important that the owners would take them with them when they were on a long journey. Now, after thousands of years, when things have all gone, these pottery tells the journeys of their owners and their belongings. " March 23, 2018.

Article: Holmqvist, E., Larsson, A. M., Kriiska, A., Palonen, V., Pesonen, P., Mizohata, K., … & Räisänen, J. (2018). Tracing grog and pots to reveal neolithic Corded Ware Culture contacts in the Baltic Sea region (SEM-EDS, PIXE). Journal of Archaeological Science, 91, 77-91.