Archaeologists have found the remains of a child buried with a dog, feathers and fur

(ORDO NEWS) — The researchers identified children’s remains, which were probably placed on a down bed for burial in the Stone Age.

The find was made in Eastern Finland. Here are some more amazing facts about the ancient traditions of saying goodbye to the dead.

In Majoonsuo, located in the municipality of Outokumpu in Eastern Finland, a rare Stone Age burial has been excavated.

So, microscopic fragments of bird feathers, hair of dogs and small mammals, as well as plant fibers were found on a children’s funeral bed.

The conclusions obtained as a result of soil analysis are unique, since organic matter is poorly preserved in the acidic soil of Finland.

Archaeologists have found the remains of a child buried with a dog feathers and fur 2
Excavation site at Majoonsuo

Stone Age in Finland

The study, led by archaeologist Tuija Kirkinen, aims to explore how highly decomposed plant and animal materials can be traced through soil analysis.

In Stone Age Finland, the dead were buried mainly in earthen pits. Little organic matter of man-made objects was preserved in the graves of that time, but based on burials in neighboring regions, it is known that objects made of bones, teeth and horns, as well as furs and feathers, were often placed next to the deceased.

Now only a few teeth of the deceased have been found, due to which it is known that it was a child aged 3 to 10 years. In addition, two transverse arrowheads made of quartz were found in the grave.

Based on the shape of the arrowheads and the dating, it can be assumed that the burial was during the Mesolithic Stone Age, around 6000 BC.

What made the excavations exceptional was the almost complete preservation of the soil in the grave. A total of 65 bags of soil samples weighing from 0.6 to 3.4 kg were collected.

The soil was studied in the archaeological laboratory of the University of Helsinki. In total, 24 microscopic (0.2-1.4 mm) fragments of bird feathers (Anseriformes) were identified from the samples.

These are the oldest feather fragments ever found in Finland. In addition to bird down, one fragment of a falcon’s feather has been identified: it may have been part of an arrow or an element of clothing.

Archaeologists have found the remains of a child buried with a dog feathers and fur 3
Artistic depiction of a child buried in Majunsuo

Children’s funeral

In addition to feathers, 24 fragments of mammalian hair were found: most of them were heavily degraded, which made accurate identification impossible.

The best finds were three dog hairs found at the bottom of the grave. It is assumed that a dog was placed at the child’s feet.

“Dogs buried with the dead have been found, for example, at Skateholm, a well-known burial site in southern Sweden dating back some 7,000 years,” says Professor Kristiina Mannermaa from the University of Helsinki.

“The discovery at Majunsuo is sensational, although there is nothing left of the animal or animals but hairs – not even teeth. We don’t even know if it’s a dog or a wolf.

However the find provides us with very valuable information about burial customs in the Stone Age, showing how people prepared the child for the journey after death, ” concluded Kirkinen.


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