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Archaeological Research Collection

The Tallinn University Archaeological Research Collection is the largest of its kind in Estonia. It was established in 1947, but the oldest parts of the collection date back to 1838. The collection is formed by uniting the collections of various institutions, e.g. The Learned Estonian Society, The Estonian Literary Society, Tartu University Centre for Archaeological Research, The Estonian National Museum, The Estonian History Museum, the Institute of History of the Estonian Academy of Sciences, etc. Since 2006, the Archaeological Research Collection is considered a state asset, with the acronym AI (archaeology inventory).

The Tallinn University Archaeological Research Collection comprises the following sub-collections:

  1. Archaeological collections with around 1,3 million items (as of 2012);
  2. Numismatic and precious metals collections (appr. 106,000 coins and 1200 objects);
  3. Archaeozoological collection (collections of human and animal bones, ~40,000 sets);
  4. Archaeological archives, document collection and archaeological library (both printed materials and manuscripts);
  5. Research support collection (including comparative collections of bones, seeds and plant residue, soil and sediment samples, coal, wood and metal samples).

The collection is expanding, with 1,000 to 20,000 finds added annually. Such difference in the expansion comes from variations in excavation volume. The most substantial expansion is usually caused by excavations in former medieval town centres where there is a thick and rich cultural layer. For example, during the 2008 and 2009 excavation at Tallinn Freedom Square there were around 20,000 finds, including appr. 2,000 important and unique finds from a stone-age settlement that contributed important information towards our understanding of the early history of Tallinn area. In addition to items from archaeological excavations the collection is replenished with finds from archaeological landscape inspections and random archaeological finds.

The TU Archaeological Research Collection is housed in Tallinn, in special depositories built at Rüütli Street 8 and 10. Much of the Archaeozoological collection was housed on rented premises in Keila until spring 2012, when the building was demolished, the collection was moved temporarily to Pääsküla where it is waiting for permanent storage facilities to be completed.

More information: www.arheoloogia.ee


Tallinn University Archaeological Research Collection
Rüütli 10, 10130 Tallinn
Telephone: 683 6469
E-mail: tulmekas....at....tlu.ee