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
In the Stone Age the sandy beaches were the most popular dwelling sites. Trees were chopped from the forest along the shore and erected in the sand to form a rectangular house-like dwelling. The roof was probably made waterproof using birch bark, pelts or sod. The bases of the dwellings were often slightly dug out of the ground, which is why many of these can still be distinguished as shallow oval depressions near beaches today. The picture shows a Stone-Age dwelling site at Ala-Lyly in Joutseno. Picture, South Karelian Museum/ Petro Pesonen.

Quartz fragments

Quartz fragments created while making stone objects, pieces of pottery, and burnt bone are the most common signs of a Stone-Age dwelling site. They may be found along beaches right on the surface of the ground.

Early Combed Ware, circa 5000-3900 B.C
In South Karelia there are few 7000-5900 year old dwelling sites from the Early Combed Ware Period at the beginning of the Neolithic Period. When the land rose after the Ice Age, it tilted Finland toward the southeast. The waters of the Saimaa region flooded in that direction and the settlements along the beaches were left under water. Indications of submerged dwelling sites have been found, for instance, at Taipalsaari and Ruokolahti.

Typical Combed Ware, circa 3900-3400 B.C.
The population became more dense during the Typical Combed Ware Period, approximately 5900-5400 years ago. Finno-Ugric peoples moved from the southeast to the shores of Lake Saimaa and Lake Simpelejärvi. Extensive settlements are known from this period, such as those at Muntero in Lappeenranta, Vaateranta in Taipalsaari, and Mietinsaari in Joutseno. In addition to the Typical Combed Ware pottery, asbestos ceramics were produced in South Karelia. The clay matter and decoration of these differed from that of the Combed Ware pottery. The people who made the asbestos-mix ceramics probably belonged to a different population group than the Combed Ware makers.

Late Stone Age, circa 3600-1900 B.C.
About 5600 years ago, beginning with the end of the Stone Age, artefacts relating to the habitation decrease. The dwelling sites are small and the ornamentation on earthenware vessels is more modest. Combed Ware pottery gradually changes to asbestos ceramics, which probably reflects the merging of the population groups which produced Combed Ware and asbestos ceramics. For instance, in the South Karelia region we know of the Kierikki (3600-3100 B.C.), Pöljä and Jysmä (3100-1900 B.C.) ceramics groups. Because of the paucity of artefacts found, we currently know little about the final period of the Stone Age in South Karelia.