It is a Stone Age cemetery in Lapland, 80 kilometers from the Arctic Circle. It credits at least 120 tombs, today empty due to decomposition of the remains. For a long time they were only preliminary interpretations. Soil acidity destroys organic matter, including human remains, within two millennia. But the ancient cemetery next to the Polar Circle left behind a trail for researchers.
Postdoctoral researcher Aki Hakonen elaborates in a statement. In the study, the graves were compared with 869 Stone Age tombs from northern Europe, located in 14 cemeteries. The researchers were surprised by the size of the cemetery. It was previously thought that such large cemeteries existed much further south.
traces of fire
«Research shows that apparently large cemeteries also existed near the Arctic Circle. Research on this era in the north will have to be re-evaluated to some extent. “These societies may not have been as small as previously thought,” says Hakonen.
Southern Lapland was inhabited at that time by the Early Comb Ware ceramic culture. It was a society of hunter-gatherers, whose true identity has yet to be discovered. The area, Tainiaro, was not just a cemetery. Numerous traces of fire and the making of distinctive stone objects suggest that it was inhabited.
The results of the investigation have not yet been verified because the alleged tombs cannot be directly proven as such. At the moment, only their exact number can be estimated. In collaboration with the School of Mining of the University of Oulu, Tainiaro passed ground-penetrating radar tests. They can map the entire site in the future without further disturbance. New excavations are still urgently needed.
‘New soil samples could be analyzed for fossilized hairs. They appear frequently in Stone Age tombs in recent years. It seems that animal skins and bird feathers were often used in funerary rituals. Chemical analyzes will give us unequivocal evidence for the interpretation of the burial. “The findings may take our understanding of Stone Age society in an even more fascinating direction.” The ancient cemetery next to the Polar Circle is a living place for science.