Antiquities and ancient monuments are traces of human activity ranging from the Stone Age to the early 20th century, which have been protected under law. The Cultural Environment Unit at Pirkanmaa Regional Museum protects, investigates and publishes information about our archaeological heritage, which forms part of the layered cultural environment. The museum is the responsible authority on protection and the expert body on archaeology in the Tampere Region.
The museum can be commissioned to conduct archaeological investigations such as excavations, inventories or archaeological supervision of projects. The museum’s archaeologists carry out field surveys and inspections and issue advice on archaeological remains. The museum employs both permanent archaeologists and project researchers.
Research on the archaeological cultural environment
Pirkanmaa Regional Museum conducts archaeological investigations of prehistoric and historic sites within its means. Due to land use changes, it carries out annual inventories and trial excavations, which are a form of basic research whose results are presented in field reports kept in the Museum’s archives and published in the Pirkan maan alta journal (the journal is in Finnish, with English summaries). In connection with field studies, the museum commissions bone and macro fossil analyses as well as carbon dating. The museum also monitors the current status of the archaeological cultural environment, threats to its survival and its administrative conservation. An archaeological research programme has been drawn up for the museum which sets out the aims of research and the themes of scientific investigation based on the distinctive characteristics of archaeological evidence and history of the region.
Archaeological inventories are used to inspect the condition and degree of preservation of known monuments, and to locate new monuments on the map. An inventory report includes the location data of the site, its conservation classification and a suggestion for a protection zone around the monument. The report also outlines a preliminary description of the site. An inventory is not an excavation, which is a detailed investigation of one or more remains.
A trial excavation is carried out to determine a monument’s state of preservation, its underground extent and value.
Mechanical groundworks are supervised to observe the layers of soil that are uncovered, and to record any findings.
Under the Antiquities Act, the cost of archaeological investigations carried out in conjunction with public works and large private projects is covered by the party which undertakes the work. Archaeological investigations in connection with minor land use by private landowners are conducted by the Finnish Heritage Agency under Government funding. Within the scope of its resources, Pirkanmaa Regional Museum can also carry out minor excavations independently. More detailed instructions are available from Pirkanmaa Regional Museum and the Finnish Heritage Agency.
Protecting the archaeological cultural environment
Protection is a way of appreciating archaeological heritage and passing it on to future generations. The preservation of ancient monuments depends on public attitude, official policy and regulations. The responsibilities and obligations related to protection in Finland are laid down in the Antiquities Act (1963/259, in Finnish).
Pirkanmaa Regional Museum is an authority responsible for the protection of archaeological heritage. It provides information and issues statements on archaeological values in connection with land use planning, building permits, works involving roads, water services, power cables and communications, as well as agriculture and forestry. Archaeological surveys are a part of heritage conservation. New archaeological remains are regularly discovered. Pirkanmaa Regional Museum also accepts submissions of observations and reports of new findings. Contact us for more information.