The Europeanization of Finland and Karelian Isthmus

Medieval castles played a crucial role in the colonization and europeanization of the Baltic Sea area. This project investigates the emergence and importance of medieval strongholds in the eastern territories of the historical Sweden: Finland, Karelian Isthmus and Ingria in Russia. Alongside with the development of Scandinavian Viking Age societies into state-like entities in the 11th to the 14th centuries, the question of political borders grew onto a new level. Since the 13th century, “Swedish” – and in some cases “Danish” – strongholds were built in a wide geographical zone facing to the east and the neighbor, Novgorodian Rus.

Medieval defense strategies are illustrated in the find material from fortified sites. The archaeological record including weapons, tools, coins, pottery, and remains related to flora and fauna, tell about crises, survival and the people by whom the maintenance of strongholds was conducted in peaceful times.