Subfossil seal finds from archaeological coastal sites in Estonia, east part of the Baltic Sea


en Anthropozoologica 25-26 - Pages 699-706

Published on 01 June 1998

This article is a part of the thematic issue Proceedings of the 7th ICAZ International Meeting, Constance, September 1994

The occurrence of seals in the archaeozoological material from the Baltic Sea during Holocene is discussed on the basis of subfossil remains from Estonian coastal sites. The main reasons for the choice of this subject are the numerous excavations in the area and insufficiency of analyses of earlier seal finds in Estonia. The species represented are the grey seal (Halichoerus grypus), ringed seal (Pusa hispida), harp seal (Pagophilus groenlandicus) and harbour seal (Phoca vitulina), of which the latter two seem to be migruting forms in Estonian waters: harp seal in the past and harbour seal even nowadays. Seal hunting can be one seasonal indicator of the prehistoric coastal sites. According to the Estonian finds, the importance of seals for prehistoric people increased in the Late Atlantic and Early Subboreal and the main hunted species was the harp seal. The distribution of the harp seal in the Baltic needs special discussion using also evidences of its migrations and distribution nowadays.


Estonia, Stone Age, Bronze Age, seal seasonality

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