Discovery of the Week 23

NEWS | Published: 18.6.2010

A dog´s bone from 1300s

The archaeological excavations of the year at Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova museum have started with the finishing of the excavations of 2009. As the first discovery of the week this summer, a dog\s left shoulder bone from the earliest faces of the history of Turku is introduced.

Thanks to the thick and moist layers of soil, bone discoveries are rich on the urban excavations\ area. Nevertheless, dog bones are an unusual find in Turku. From this piece of bone, we have been able to determine not only the breed, but also the age and height of the animal. The ossifying of the shoulderbone\s loose ends shows that the growth of the bones has ended and the dog has reached adulthood. The dog\s height has been about 55 cm, about the height of a modern day Labrador retriever. It seems that there were many breeds of dog in the Middle Ages already. This individual has probably belonged to one of the biggest breeds.

Many of the dog bones found in Turku bear marks of skinning, which shows that they have been used as fur animals. Also on this bone, one of the ends is even. This suggests that the front leg has been separated from the rest of the body.

Archeological excavations 2010

Excavations are taking place inside the Aboa Vetus Museum once again
this summer. The museum features a part of the medieval Convent Quarter
whose inhabitants were mainly rich merchants and their servants. This
summer, the backyard of largest stone building in the museum area is
being excavated. The building dates back to 1401-1404.

Much is being expected from the excavations of the area because the
backyard has been used for various kind of activities in the Middle
Ages: animal care, gardening, housework and also the household waste was
thrown in a heap in the yard. Therefore, one can presume that remnants
of animals and vegetables as well as pieces of various items are found
in the area. The manure-rich soil layers of the yard also preserve
organic material, such as leather items, better than the ordinary clayey
soil layers. In earlier excavations next to the yard, the oldest wooden
structures of houses and the finest luxury goods in the museum area
have been found. The oldest soil layers date back to the beginning of
the 14th century, that is, the earliest phase of Turku. 

Each week, a new Discovery of the Week from the excavations is
displayed in the museum from June 11th to August 20th.