In Sundfjaera midtre 10 dwellings from Late Stone Age were found. In the upper part of the site we have an activityarea dated to Early Stone Age. In addition several fireplaces, cleared areas, possible graves and other structures have been localised. Four teams have been excavating here, these were led by Tori Falch, Kristel Solevåg, Rolf Liahjell Bade and Theo Gil.

Dwellings from Sundfjaera midtre. For the untrained eye, it can be difficult to recognize the dwellings. They appear as weak depressions in the ancient beach. Characteristic for the dwellings is that the back walls are dug into the slope while the front walls are based on the natural topography and therefore are not that visible. Around some of the dwellings we have localised what we percieve to be the foundations for posts that originally supported the roof and the front wall. Inside the dwellings one or two fireplaces are present. These appear as concentrations of ashes, charcoal and firecracked stones.

The pictures above, from left:

Dwelling 6; a weak depression in the ancient beach, in the center larger rocks and concentrations of charcoal. Inner floorarea is flatter and more compact.

Dwelling 5; back wall is sharply dug into the ancient beach, front wall runs along the natural topography. The slope in front of the dwelling is packed with fireckracked stones. These have been removed from the fireplaces inside the house when it has been cleaned. Inner floorarea is flat and has large amounts of ashes and charcoal.

Dwelling 2; back wall is dug into the ancient beach, the remaining walls are less marked, the front wall least visible. Two concentrations of charcoal indicate the presence of two fireplaces. Towards west a depression that can represent an entrance or a smaller room. In the upper right part of the dwelling excavation has begun.

Unn, Kjersti, and Natalia are digging in the eastern part of dwelling 6. The work is often wet and muddy.

Excavation in Sundfjaera nedre. Since the dwellings are situated close together, we are specially interested in the chronological and functional relation between the different structures. Therefore, profiles stretching over several dwellings are established.

The pictures above, from left:

Field supervisor Tori documents the eastern profile of dwelling 6. The profile runs through a concentration of stones which has the shape of a small mound. This shape, and the finding of an amber pearl, leads us to presume this structure to be a grave.

The trench runs from the back wall of dwelling 3 in the upper part of the picture to the front wall of dwelling 6 in the lower part of the picture. The excavation is done by removing 5 cm thick layers quadrant by quadrant. Each layer is documented separately, before the remaining profile wall is documented throug drawings, photos and scientific samples.

Amber pearls from Sundfjaera midtre.

The pictures above, from left:

The two first pearls which were found. They were found in connection with a structure that most probably is a grave. Amber is very rare in Northern Norway, and the pearls, or the person who owned them, must have travelled far. The pearls most probably originate from the Baltic or Denmark. Since the charcoal found in context is not yet dated, we cannot determine the absolute age of the pearls. Based on height above sealevel and other finds done close by, we can estimate the age to be 6000 BP, i.e. Late Stone Age.

Another pearl, here photographed in situ. With the largest as the exception, the pearls from Sundfjaera are either oval or round, but all are beautifully shaped and have rich colour nuances.

The pearls must be treated carefully and kept wet to avoid dehydration and cracking. Compare the colour on the picture to the right and the one on the picture to the left. Only a few minutes exposure to sun and air leads to degration of colour and drying. The pearls are now in Tromsoe Museum for conservation.

Some finds from Sundfjaera midtre
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Tromsoe Museum-Universitetsmuseet, N-9037 Tromsoe, Norway
Telephone +47 77 64 50 00 Fax +47 77 64 55 20
Updated by Anja Roth Niemi May 2, 2003
Editor: Stephen Wickler, Dept. of Archaeology, Tromsoe Museum