3000 BC - 1700

Archaeological collection

Tallinn City Museum

Tallinn City Museum's archaeological collection holds over 27 000 artefacts dating from the Stone Age up to the 20th century. Most have been found from Tallinn and Harju county. 

Stone axe
This several thousands of years old stone axe (from 3000-1000 BC) was found by accident while digging a ditch. The axe itself is small but the shaft hole is big. The axe became smaller and smaller due to the frequent sharpening, which means that it was probably used during a long period and was an important tool for its owner. 

The use-wear marks on the backside of the axe indicate that it has also been used as a hammer.

Decorated bronze axe
It is one of the most richly decorated bronze axes of Estonian Bronze Age, manufactured probably at the southern littoral of the Baltic Sea. Ritual function of the axe has been assumed rather than more practical function as cutting wood etc.
Proosa prehistoric stone graves
Proosa prehistoric stone grave complex is located near Tallinn on the right bank of the Pirita River on a limestone ridge. It consists of a stone cist grave, single tarand grave and a cairn grave. They have been in use from the Early Iron Age to the Final Iron Age (during the 1st, from 4th to 6th and from 11th to 13th centuries). Archaeological excavations took place there from 1970 to 1984. Some unique imported items were found together with many local ornaments.

This silver-coated luxury belt buckle dates to the second half of the 5th century. It is of Scandinavian origin and decorated in animal ornamentation of Salin style I. It was presumably a buckle for a sword belt.

Human head on the forepart of the pin.

Typical bracelet from 5th and 6th century in Estonia.

Bronze penannular brooch with a bracelet twisted of three wires. Found from the Proosa carin grave during the excavations in 1982.

Bronze neck ring with a spiral finger ring.
Found from the Proosa tarand grave during the excavations in 1980.

Items from Tallinn Old Town
Oldest traces of settlement under modern Tallinn date back over 5000 years. Medieval town was established in the 13th century. Many excavations take place in the Old Town every year and several thousands of items found are stored in the Tallinn City Museum.

Wooden platform shoe for walking in mud.

Net sinkers were used in fishing. The sinkers were attached to the down side of the fishing net and together with the floaters they held the net upright.

Ceramic flat flask was part of the equipment of the Muscovite soldiers around 16th and 17th century.

The flasks were attached to belts or saddles through loops on the flask.

In the centre of the flask there is an unique flower motif.

Pirita Convent
Pirita Convent was established at the beginning of the 15th century near Tallinn. The convent was quite prosperous, had a lovely interior and many estates. Pirita was a well-known destination for pilgrims. After the Reformation the importance of the convent decreased. It was also heavily damaged in the 16th century in a fire as well as during the Livonian War whereafter the convent was abandoned. Bridgettines returned to Estonia in the 1990s and a new convent was built in 2001 next to the old one.
Finds from Pirita Convent in Tallinn City Museum
Many archaeological excavations have taken place at the Pirita Convent since the 1930s. Among thousands of finds there are many elaborate items of which some are exhibited in the permanent exhibition in Tallinn City Museum.

Pirita relics. Human bones wrapped in brocade. Found during excavations in 1977 and 1979 near a demolished altar. The relics might have been hidden there during the Livonian War (1558–1583 AD).

The hands around the neck may indicate that it was a figurine of Mary holding a baby Jesus.

Nun’s golden finger ring which she received after giving the eternal vow. This ring was found in the Convent's courtyard. It may have been hidden there during the Livonian War (1558-1583).

Christ on the cross is depicted on the front side of the ring.

The inside of the ring is decorated as well.

This whistle has been shaped as a bird and made from clay. Decorated with green glaze. There are two holes on both sides and one in the tail for blowing.

Tallin City Museum
Credits: Story

This exhibition was created by Maarja Olli, the curator of archeological collections at Tallinn City Museum.
We kindly thank Ragnar Nurk and Kristiina Johanson for their help in preparing the exhibit.
Photos by Martin Vuks, Jaan Künnap, and Stanislav Stepaško.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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