Photo of the month
Both in January and June we were busy building museum exhibitions at the Northern Ostrobothnia Museum. Exhibitions represent our research results on church burials in Northern Finland. You may visit these exhibitions at the museum until August 30, 2020.
The exhibitions are called:
Buried with care – archaeological research in Northern Finland
Changing church burial traditions
In Finland, burying the deceased under the church floors was customary from the Middle Ages to the late 18th century. The practice eventually ended through the order of the emperor of Russia in 1822. A burial place beneath the church was highly valued. As a result, the space under the floor was full of chamber tombs and coffins in many churches. Child mortality was high until the late 19th century; families had to make small coffins quite often. Many of the coffins under church floors are of infants and young children.
Based on archaeological research conducted in Oulu, Hailuoto, Ii, Tornio and Keminmaa, Buried with Care presents the burial practices as well as individuals buried under the churches between the 14th and 19th centuries. When an infant or a young child died, the dead was buried in a coffin beautifully decorated with white fabric. The deceased often held flowers made of silk and beads in their hands. The archaeological materials recovered from under Oulu Cathedral and the old church of Hailuoto show both care over the dead child and a sense of peaceful rest.
The exhibition explores various sensory experiences linked to death. The smell of the dead body was often masked using scented and antibacterial plants, herbs and sawdust. The deceased were placed in their coffins to wait for the Resurrection. Along with adults with marks of their diseases and the personal items that accompanied them in their coffins, the exhibition shows how children were regarded as important members of their communities. For instance, a young woman excavated from a medieval burial place in Hamina in Ii was found wearing a cross of eastern origin.
The exhibitions are based on research funded by the Emil Aaltonen Foundation and the Academy of Finland conducted at the University of Oulu. The exhibitions are produced in collaboration with archaeologists from the University of Oulu, the Northern Ostrobothnia Museum, the Museum of Tornio Valley and the Kemi Historical Museum. It is the third instalment of a series of exhibitions. The first two exhibitions were displayed in Kemi (Rungius, Buried in the Church) and Tornio (Anna, Buried in the Church) in 2019
In late May, when after being back to schools for two weeks, the Finnish school children started their summer vacation after coronavirus spring and, this statue at Ainolan puisto (Oulu) decided also to take his hat off and launch the boat.
Vappu, the 1st of May, is specifically important celebration for children and students. Then you may dress nicely and blow balloons. University students dress in work uniforms, get drunk and go for picnic in the parks. In Oulu archaeology students wear brown uniforms, they won't get too dirty if you roll in the ground. This is a selection of pics of our researchers, Tiina Väre, Saara Tuovinen, Sanna Lipkin and Tiina Kuokkanen, celebrating Vappu few years ago.
In early March Tiina visited Havana for the Antropos 2020 conference and made it home to quarantine just barely before things got serious.
At the moment Tiina Kuokkanen is working as a visiting researcher at Centre for Textile Research in University of Copenhagen. While concentrating on early modern textile making she has also visited local museums to gain new perspective to her studies. This photo is from Rosenborg Castle, where you can see Christian IV's (1577–1648) toilet.
Last year marked a change for Tiina Väre's little family. In late September, they took off and moved to Stockholm. As a visiting researcher at the Archaeological Research Laboratory of the University of Stockholm, for the past three months, Tiina has been preparing collagen samples for the analysis of the stable isotope ratios in archaeological dentin. As our teeth preserve the information of our childhood diets, the mentioned analyses enable examining the past breastfeeding practices. Extraction of collagen requires executing several work stages, but luckily working at the lab can be very exciting.
This late 19th century doll fragment was found at Hämeenlinna (Varikonniemi) couple of decades ago. Similar dolls have been found also elsewhere in Finland. Small white porcelain dolls have been connected with the story of Frozen Charlotte, a tale about a girl who did not dress properly for a sleigh ride while travelling to a New Year's ball, and froze to death. Even though the dolls are white as death, it has been contested, if the Victorians themselves considered the dolls as corpses. It is even more unlikely that children in Finland would have reproduced an American tale in their plays. Nevertheless, it would be tempting to assume that, similarly as in Northern America, these dolls were used for playing funerals also in Finland. When it was found, the 19th-century finds were not appreciated as they are today, and the doll does not have any inventory number, but belongs to a private collection.
Photo: Antti Kaarlela (2019)
In December 24th 1913 at Calumet, Michigan, around 70 people, most of them children, were suffocated in a staircase after unidentified person had shouted ”fire”. Happy event where santa was giving presents to children ended tragically. Today, Sanna Lipkin is studying the memorization of these children, many of them with Finnish origin.
Photo: Sanna Lipkin (2018)
For the last month Saara Tuovinen has been studying the population of parishes of Northern Ostrobothnia. The Swedish Crown wanted to receive detailed information about births, marriages, and deaths of each parish. The priests also were told to inform other kinds of incidents. Here is an example from Hailuoto where two great storms caused flooding both 30th of October and 12th of November 1752.
Kuluneen kuukauden ajan Saara Tuovinen on tutkinut väestön kehitystä Pohjois-Pohjanmaan alueelta. Ruotsin kruunu halusi kerätä tarkempaa tietoa väestön kehityksestä. Seurakuntien papit täyttivät nämä tiedot valmiisiin väkilukutaulukoihin, joihin he samalla merkitsivät myös vuoden kulkuun liittyviä tapahtumia. Tässä on esimerkiksi maininta kahdesta tulvia nostattaneesta myrskystä (stormista) Hailuodosta loka- ja marraskuusta vuodelta 1752.
Kuva: Saara Tuovinen
Oulun maakunta-arkisto, Hailuodon seurakunnan arkisto, IIDf:1 Väkilukutaulukot, Hailuodon väkilukutaulukot 1749–1775
Last summer Tiina Kuokkanen studied the archive of the Varjakka saw mill (1900–1928). She tried to find information especially about two houses that have been located on the Kukonkatu and Finninkatu streets. Information on workers' housing can be found, for example, in this order on rent and firewood.
Tiina Kuokkanen työskenteli viime kesänä Varjakan sahan (1900–1928) arkiston parissa etsien tietoa erityisesti kahdesta Kukon- ja Finninkaduilla sijainneesta talosta. Tietoa työläisten asumisesta löytyi esimerkiksi tästä vuokria ja polttopuita koskevasta määräyksestä.
Kuva: Tiina Kuokkanen
Uleå Oy:n Varjakan höyrysahan arkisto, Sekalaiset luettelot 1927 – 1929