FARAVID 35/2011


Jari Okkonen – Jukka Heikkilä, Observations at five fish weir sites in Northern Finland

The inland waters of Northern Finland possess underwater archaeological resources which are poorly known and protected. Fish weirs of different types were used in Finland up to the mid–20th century and have been studied thoroughly as ethnographic phenomena. Few archaeological studies have been performed, however, and most of the sites have probably not even been recorded. The present study deals with the five known fish weir sites in Northern Ostrobothnia and Kainuu. Two of these, Loukusanjärvi and Rääpysjärvi, were used mainly for catching burbot and pike, and both lack any stone structures and are located in shallow water (1.5–2 metres) on the even, sandy bottom of the lake, while the other three, Yli-Juumajärvi, Tuulisalmi and Patosalmi, are typical of those used for catching salmon, trout, whitefish and grayling, being located in streams and consisting of wood and stones. These latter structures have been seriously damaged on account of log floating and dredging. The sites are difficult to date, but it is likely that the weirs were in constant use for several centuries. One interesting aspect is that some of the fish weirs have both prehistoric dwelling sites and pits for trapping reindeers or elks close by.  

Faravid 35/2011