Stone Age
Mesolithic Period:
The first inhabitants

The population settles
Neolithic Period:
New discovery: pottery

Settlement of South Karelia in the Neolithic Period
How did people live in the Stone Age
Lake Saimaa and Stone-Age habitation
Shorelevel displacement
Map of sites
Early Metal Age
Map of sites
Iron Age
Early Iron Age
Late Iron Age:
Viking Period

The time of the Crusades
The prehistoric period comes to an end
Map of sites
Small Combed Ware cup found in a grave at the red ochre burial ground at Vaateranta in Taipalsaari. Picture, South Karelia Museum.

Larger Combed Ware pot found in a grave at the red ochre burial ground at Vaateranta in Taipalsaari. Picture, South Karelian Museum / Seppo Pelkonen.

When an earthenware vessel broke, people sometimes tried to repair it using birch tar. A piece of Combed Ware pot showing traces of repair. Found at the Kujansuu dwelling site in Taipalsaari. Picture, South Karelian Museum / Seppo Pelkonen.
New discovery: pottery
In the Neolithic period people learned how to make vessels from clay. The dishes had round bases and were shaped like a halved eggshell. They were decorated with different imprints and hole-like indentations made by pressing with fingernails or a hollow bone. The ornamentation varied somewhat in different areas and at different times. Styles changed. The most common type and the one longest in use was Combed Ware, which took its name from the comb-like stamp used to decorate the vessels.

Combed Ware vessels varied in size from small cups to containers for more than 70 litres. They were used for storing foods and evidently to some degree also for preparing foods. The round-bottomed bowls stayed upright easily on the sandy beach. The basic shape of the vessels stayed the same for about 2000 years. They were prepared from clay mixed with crushed stone, sand, and bits of old dishes. That way they better withstood the firing, which was done over an open fire.

By examining pieces of pottery, an archaeologist obtains information about a settlement's age, the manufacture and styles of pottery, and the groups of people who made them. Earthenware vessels were probably made at the dwelling sites and each population group decorated them in their own characteristic way. It is easy to trace settlement during the Neolithic Period on the basis of ceramic artefacts.