Archaeologist`s find: Pieces of a Baroque Masonry Heater from the 17th Century

NEWS | Published: 24.11.2016
The pieces in questions were found under archaeological examination beneath a pavement dating back to the 18th century.
The pieces in questions were found under archaeological examination beneath a pavement dating back to the 18th century.

During the summer, Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova has conducted archaeological excavations and examinations in the cellar of the museum's office building Konsulinna, situated on the same lot as the museum itself. The site has likely been inhabited since the 14th century.

Masonry heaters arrived in Turku during the Middle Ages, along with Hansa merchants and German culture. However, their number in the city did not increase until the 17th century. The pieces in questions were found under archaeological examination beneath a pavement dating back to the 18th century. The streetside properties were inhabited by the upper German bourgeoisie, whose stone buildings were likely heated by masonry heaters. The possible date of destruction for the unearthed heater may be one the many city fires of the late 17th century.

Baroque masonry heaters were produced in the 17th century. During the Baroque era, heater tiles were often decorated with animal or plant motifs, and they were influenced by the products of the decorative arts brought from the Far East, especially textile arts. The dog-themed tile is from a different heater than the clam and plant tiles visible in the display case. Dogs were often portrayed in the 17th century hunting-themed tiles. Despite their beautiful appearance, Baroque heaters were proper energy gluttons – up to 80 per cent of the produced energy went to waste.