A pendant that was discovered at the site

Tracing finds with Emmi Koivisto and the University of Oulu

A couple of weeks ago, DV was contacted by a team of archaeologists from the University of Oulu in Finland who had been inspired by our work at Flag Fen and Leiston Abbey to give crowdfunding a shot as part of a Master’s thesis project. Their dig is now the first-ever crowdfunded excavation in Finland. Well done, guys!

We were totally excited by the project 1) because we have loved all things Finnish ever since we visited Helsinki, 2) because it’s an exciting site with an interesting story, which has unique complications, and 3) because we think it’s great that crowdfunding is becoming more popular for archaeological projects.

Because the site is under threat and located in a very remote area of Northern Finland, the team have to be a bit more restricted in public participation, so it’s not *exactly* the same kind of thing that DV does with crowdfunding. But they do have great benefits for their funders…and we’d love another excuse to head to Finland!

Emmi and the team have sent us a bit more information on their project, and we think it’s ace. Please help us spread the word about their work – fingers crossed for them in meeting their goal!

Tracing Finds – the first crowdfunded excavation in Finland

In 2011, a metal detectorist discovered several Late Iron Age artefacts in a small island called Illinsaari, located in northern Finland. Following these exciting finds, in summer 2013 a comprehensive excavation at the site was carried out by a team of archaeologists from the University of Oulu. The site turned out to be a Late Iron Age cemetery, containing the remains of at least twenty individuals. This success has encouraged us to carry out another excavation at a similar find-spot in Pirttitörmä in June 2014.

This excavation is extremely important, as Iron Age still remains a relatively unknown period in northern Finland. There are no proofs of permanent settlement, which we hope this excavation will give. The fact that multiple infants were buried in Illinsaari, not far from Pirttitörmä, is a strong indication of permanent settlement. However, the site lacks definite dating – which is why we need the funds to carry out radiocarbon dating.

Archeological research in Finland, as in many other countries, has suffered from a lack of funding in recent years. Research grants are harder to come by than ever and competition is exceptionally fierce. Therefore, after seeing the success of DigVentures in how crowdfunding can work with other kinds of financial support, we have decided to seek crowdfunding for this project in collaboration with the Finnish Association for Supporting Archaeological Research.

We love the idea of people from all over the world not only finding out about our project, but also having the chance to support our research and feel part of the team. By providing support to this project, people will directly add to the value of our research – as the funds raised will be directed to cover the expenses of radiocarbon dating.

We are extremely grateful to all supporters who choose to contribute to our project.

Meet the team!

Janne IkäheimoJanne Ikäheimo, Field School Director

Janne is a Lecturer in archaeology at the University of Oulu (Finland). His current research interests include the early Medieval period in Northern Finland and the use of native copper in northeast Europe during the Neolithic. Janne plans to retire without skeletons in his closet in 2038.





Ville HakamäkiVille Hakamäki, Excavation Director

Ville is an early stage researcher at the University of Oulu, and the excavation in Pirttitörmä is part of his PhD research. His research interests include Pirttitörmä (naturally) and the Iron Age in northern Finland in general. His dream is to find evidence of permanent settlement in Northern Finland during the Late Iron Age.




Emmi KoivistoEmmi Koivisto, Manager of ‘Tracing Finds’

Emmi is a Masters student in Archaeology at the University of Oulu. ‘Tracing Finds’ is her thesis project, and she is eagerly studying what response her campaign gets. She is interested in volunteer management, the application of crowdsourcing to archaeology and is a huge fan of DigVentures!


Support great archaeology

DigVentures crowdfunds archaeological projects that everyone can be part of, in the UK and overseas. With help from people all over the world, we investigate the past and publish our discoveries online for free. Support one of our digs and you can choose to excavate alongside our team, or watch our discoveries online!

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Lisa Westcott Wilkins

Lisa Westcott Wilkins

Co-founder and Managing Director of DigVentures, Lisa makes sure the boxes are ticked, the diggers run on time, and that everyone has a *really* good time along the way. She is responsible for the Americanisms, ridiculously strong site coffee and early morning DV dance parties.

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