Inside the Dwelling: Clay Figurines of the Jägala Jõesuu V Stone Age Settlement Site (Estonia)


  • Irina Khrustaleva
  • Aivar Kriiska



Stone Age, Comb Wareculture, Estonia, Jägala, clay figurines, intentional breakage, dwellings


Sculpted clay figurines were widespread in Stone Age Europe. They
were common in the hunter-gatherer communities in the territories
of Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Western and Northwestern
Russia. In these territories they were mainly associated with the
Comb, Pitted and Pit-Comb Ware cultures, ca 4000–2000 years
calBC. This paper examines clay sculptures from the Jägala Jõesuu
V Comb Ware culture settlement site in northern Estonia, where 91
fragments of figurines were found, making it the most abundant
deposits of clay figurines and their fragments in the eastern Baltic.
Among them, three different types of image were distinguished:
one zoomorphic (harbour porpoise) and two anthropomorphic. All
the figurines were fragmented intentionally in ancient times, as
determined by microscopic and experimental research. Most of the
fragments were situated in the filling of a pit-house, which indicates
that the dwelling had a sacral as well as a habitational dimension.
During the research process, Stone Age clay figurines from nine more
Comb Ware culture sites of Estonia and Ingria were catalogued. The
catalogue contains 13 previously published and 21 newly discovered
instances and radiocarbon dates taken at the sites, some of which
are being published for the first time.


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Author Biographies

Irina Khrustaleva

Irina Khrustaleva (b. 1986) is a PhD student in the chair of Laboratory
Archaeology at the University of Tartu (Estonia) and junior researcher
at the Department of Archaeology of Eastern Europe and Siberia at
the State Hermitage Museum (Russia). Her main research interests
are related to the Stone Age of Eastern and Northern Europe
(architecture, systems of organisation of prehistoric settlements,
social and economic processes, flint and other stone raw materials).
She has published more than thirty scientific and popular scientific
articles and conference abstracts.

Aivar Kriiska

Aivar Kriiska (b. 1965) is Professor of Laboratory Archaeology at
the University of Tartu (Estonia). His primary research interests
are related to the Stone and Bronze Ages in Eastern and Northern
Europe (early habitation of the forest zone in Europe, settlement
and economic processes in Baltic coastal areas and islands, aDNA of
Prehistoric populations, etc.), although he has also worked in other
fields of archaeology, including Medieval and Modern Age town

archaeology and experimental archaeology. He has published more
than four hundred scientific and popular scientific articles and books.