Potsherd with typical ornamentation of Säräisniemi 1 wares (KM30561:799). Photo: P. Pesonen
Potsherd with typical ornamentation of Säräisniemi 1 wares (KM30561:799). Photo: P. Pesonen

The joint research undertaken by Vasiliki Papakosta in Sweden and Petro Pesonen in Finland comes to contribute to our current knowledge about early pottery use in Finland with new evidence from the analysis of lipid residues absorbed in Early Comb Ware ceramics of the Säräisniemi 1 (Sär 1), Sperrings 1 (Ka I:1), Sperrings 2 (Ka I:2) subgroups, as well as of the Jäkärlä Ware group. The ceramics span a chronological period that corresponds to the early stages of pottery production and use by a complex of hunter-gatherer cultural groups in Finland (ca. 5100-4000 cal. BC). Although the use of ceramics during this period was already shown to be connected with the processing of aquatic and terrestrial animal resources by an earlier study of lipid residues, however, the focus was only on a small number of coastal sites in south-west Finland. Here, the researchers expand our knowledge with evidence from both coastal and inland areas from the south-east to the south-west, as well as from Säräisniemi 1 (Sär 1) wares in the North that were not studied before. The results strengthen the previous knowledge and further add that aquatic and terrestrial animal resources were processed in all pottery groups irrespective of site location. Based on that, whatever the differences may have been between these early pottery-making cultural groups, some of them being almost totally contemporaneous and some others partly, they seem to have shared similar food cultures in which ceramics were embedded as tools to process both types of resources. The findings seem also to disconnect the adoption of pottery by hunter-gatherers in this geographical area from the concept that explains the phenomenon as the result of an increased economic focus on aquatic resources.

The article Lipid residues in early hunter-gatherer ceramics from Finland is published in the Proceedings of the 11th Nordic Conference on the Application of Scientific Methods in Archaeology / [ed] Kristiina Mannermaa, Mikael A. Manninen, Petro Pesonen, Liisa Seppänen, Helsinki: Suomen arkeologinen seura , June 2019, pages 32-47.