Stove tiles are interesting archaeological finds. In addition to the interior design of residential buildings, they tell about the fashion and ideological phenomena of their era. Several fragments of stove tiles have been found on our archaeological excavations this summer.
In the Middle ages, tile stoves spread also to Finland as a novelty. The earliest stoves consisted of simple vessel tiles but they quickly developed into more decorative forms.
Stove tiles in the late Middle ages usually portrayed religious motifs such as Christ or catholic saints. Some of the motifs were symbolic. The first tile is a niche tile that features most likely a pelican feeding her young with her own blood. The pelican symbolized Christ who shed his blood for mankind. The tile dates to the 15th or early 16th century.
The other find is a piece of a Renaissance stove tile still features remains of green glaze and the letters HAN[--]. It can be recognised as the portrait of Johann Friedrich, Elector of Saxony (1503–1554), an early supporter of Protestant Reformation. Using this particular portrait on a stove in Turku might have been a political statement or just a fashion choice.