(ORDO NEWS) — The burial site of a young child who lived 8,000 years ago has been discovered in Eastern Finland, providing a rare glimpse into how Stone Age people treated their dead.
Majunsuo’s grave first came to the attention of researchers in 1992 in the municipality of Outokumpu, when a bright red ocher, iron-rich clay, was spotted on the surface of a new service trail in the forest.
Red ocher has been associated with rock art as well as ornamentation and burials.
The Finnish Heritage Agency began excavations at the site in 2018 due to concerns about erosion and vehicles at the site.
Stone Age societies in Finland buried their dead in pits in the ground. The soil in Finland is so acidic that after thousands of years there is little left of the body, meaning that traces of archaeological finds are extremely rare.
The teeth of a child were found in the grave, as well as fragments of bird feathers, plant fibers and dog hair.
Together, these clues paint a portrait of the deceased.
The researchers determined that the teeth belonged to a child between the ages of 3 and 10. Two quartz arrowheads and two other quartz objects were also found, which were considered grave goods.
About 24 tiny feather fragments were found, and seven of them belong to waterfowl. They are the oldest feather fragments ever found in Finland.
The child may have been placed on a bed of down feathers, or the child may have been wrapped in waterfowl clothing, such as an antique jacket.
A falcon feather was also found in the grave, which is believed to have been part of an arrow, probably once attached to the point or used as decoration on children’s clothing.
Fine hair found at the child’s feet belonged to either a dog or a wolf. Perhaps one of them was buried at the feet of a child, or the child was dressed in shoes made from dog or wolf fur.
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