Areas of expertise
I am an archaeologist with a particular interest in wetlands. My main research topics have concerned prehistoric wetland archaeological sites and their materials, fishery studies, waterlogged wood, and archaeological prospection. Currently (2019–22), I work at the University of Turku/Archaeology within a new project ‘Perish and fade away: Sedimentation and preservation of organic archaeological remains in wetland landscapes’ funded by the Academy of Finland. This project concerns a prehistoric wetland site Järvensuo 1 (c. 4000–500 calBCE) in Humppila, SW Finland by the shore of an overgrown lake Rautajärvi. With the new research and wetland excavations, the archaeological, sedimentological, and palaeoenvironmental characteristics of the prehistoric lakeside site buried under peat and lake gyttja will be thoroughly investigated through a wide range of multidisciplinary methods.
Perish and fade away: Sedimentation and preservation of organic archaeological remains in wetland landscapes
Wetlands are today being subjected to extensive changes caused by modern land use and climate change. In Finland, the increasing use of peatlands for agriculture, forestry, and peat extraction affect these fragile habitats, which are so rich in natural and cultural resources. This interdisciplinary study is based upon, but goes beyond my previous work in furthering our understanding about the preservation and scientific potential of the archaeological resources of wetland landscapes. The unusual preservation conditions for organic archaeological remains within these sites – under humid, saturated sediments – yield valuable sources for investigating past populations, their material culture, and environmental setting. With the planned research, the archaeological, sedimentological, and palaeoenvironmental characteristics of the prehistoric lakeside site at Järvensuo 1 in Humppila, SW Finland will be thoroughly re-analysed and investigated through a wide range of multidisciplinary methods. Monitoring soil properties (pH, Eh, water table, temperature) and their effects on the preservation of organic archaeological and palaeoenvironmental materials, and studying the site with archaeogeophysical, ground-truthing, 14C AMS dating, geo- and microarchaeological methods, will produce scientifically highly significant and state-of-the-art data on the human impact, sedimentation, and preservation of the site. As a result, the study will provide long-expected baseline data for the characterisation and preservation of a prehistoric lakeside settlement situated in a dynamic landscape, and thus advance our understanding about its state of preservation and the most critical factors affecting the deterioration of our wetland archaeological heritage. Without such monitoring of the gradual changes affecting the burial environment of these sites, the current state of in situ preservation may soon be degraded and lead to inevitable destruction. Furthermore, the results of the interdisciplinary study will significantly further our understanding about the development of northern hunter-fisher-gatherer and later agrarian societies, cultures, and human-environment co-evolution.