The notion of ‘deep time’, or persistent long-term social and economic patterns in history, has emerged as an increasingly powerful conceptual framework for thinking about the development of past human societies. Owing to its time-depth, the archaeological record offers exemplary and unique opportunities for studying the effects of long-term processes on societies - many of which continue to inform modern demographic patterns. There exists in Finland a considerable body of digitised archaeological material that is well-suited to such analysis. This includes the Finnish Heritage Agency’s (FHA) database of archaeological sites and monuments, but significantly also a growing body of metal-detected public finds recovered by members of the public and recorded by the FHA. This latter represents in the Finnish context a completely new body of material. It has not, however, been examined through Digital Humanities methodologies, nor has the FHA monuments data been the subject of a comprehensive scientific investigation. DeepFIN proposes to address this gap in the scholarship.
The goal of this two-year MSC research programme is to analyse Finnish archaeological and historical data through Geographic Information Systems and other Digital Humanities methodologies in order to reassess and create a new understanding of the deep history of archaeological landscapes, historical settlement and material culture development from the Iron Age (500 BCE - 1200/1300 CE) to the Middle Ages (1200/1300 - 1520 CE). This project will identify what long-term and large-scale patterns related to settlements and the material culture emerges from the archaeological data, how they relate to the physical environment, and how they change across time. By employing significantly under-used existing database resources, DeepFIN will create ground-breaking new information on Finnish archaeology and history without recourse to new excavations and data collection.