Author Archives: Mirkka Hekkurainen


The dates for #InariDig2 are now confirmed and the dig will be from August 7th to 16th. We will have an open excavation like last year and the registration opens in the end of May. The specifics are yet to be confirmed and we will keep you posted along the way. A sure thing is that there will be a limited amount of spots for volunteers so stay tuned!

#InariDig2:n ajankohta on nyt selvillä. Yleisölle avoimet kaivaukset järjestetään kesän lopussa 7.-16.8.2017. Ilmoittautuminen vapaaehtoiseksi avautuu toukokuun lopussa ja lisätietoa alkaa tippumaan pitkin kevättä ja kesää. Vaikka moni asia onkin vielä epäselvää, on varmaa se, että paikkoja vapaaehtoisille on rajoitettu määrä. Kannattaa siis pitää korvat höröllä!

Dr. Iain Banks and the Mustikka Dreams

Dr. Iain Banks from Glasgow university attended the open excavation in Inari with us this summer. He already dazzled us with his knowledge (and his accent) in this video, and now he was kind enough to write us a piece about how he remembers experiencing Finnish Lapland.


Dr. Iain Banks, 2011

Mustikka Dreams

This summer, I found myself in a place that was both familiar and very strange to me.  I was standing in a forest in Lapland, far to the north of the Arctic Circle, with my field of vision cut down to a few feet by the density of the forest. The familiarity came from the vegetation and landforms. Lichens grew everywhere, and the ground cover was a mixture of mosses and berries. The trees were pines for as far as could be seen. This was so familiar to someone who has spent as much time as I have in the Highlands of Scotland.  We don’t have as rich an array of species of berry as Lapland, but the lichens thrive as well, the damp conditions keep the mosses as dominant as in Lapland, and I could almost believe myself to be in a forest at home.

There is also a similarity in terms of the human landscape.  While we don’t have reindeer herders, we have traces of the Second World War scattered across the Highlands.  We have training camps, PoW camps, and forestry camps slowly decaying into the landscape, disappearing under the mosses and lichens amidst the trees. I was in Lapland as part of the research project Lapland’s Dark Heritage, come to see Lapland’s PoW camps and participate in the excavations at Inari.  Further north than I had ever been before, in a country that I had never previously visited and whose language is a closed book to me, the combination of environment, archaeological material, and the warm welcome of colleagues made me feel completely at home.

During my time in Lapland, I learned a huge amount about the history of events, about which I’d previously had a hazy notion of plucky Finns holding back the Russians in the North. In particular, I’d never heard about the burning of Lapland.  I was able to share my experience as a field archaeologist in helping the volunteers to learn the basics of excavation, and to share some of my research into PoW camps further south in a public lecture.

We excavated elements of a hospital site just outside the town of Inari, working with a group of Finnish volunteers, and forming a truly international group of English, Scottish, Brazilian, and Finnish academics probing the heritage and impact of the war in Lapland.  Still smarting from the Brexit vote, it was heartening to work with my European colleagues and plan future collaborations that will endure whatever the politicians decide.  A small taste of that came with the recent visit of Eerika Koskinen-Koivisto to the University of Glasgow, and we hope to expand links between Glasgow, Helsinki, and Oulu in the coming years.  Lapland’s Dark Heritage is a tremendous project, and I have really enjoyed being involved in it; I will be returning for as long as the project will have me.

I started by talking about the familiar; the biggest difference was night time. We have long hours of summer daylight and short winter days, but it is less extreme than in Lapland. Standing on the edge of Lake Solojärvi at 2 am photographing the mist on the surface of the water was an experience I will always remember.  I have travelled far and wide across the world, but Lapland has been one of the best experiences I have had.


Lake Solojärvi. Taken by Dr. Iain Banks in the summer of 2016.

#InariDig -week in a video / #InariDig -viikko videona

While explaining us about all the equipment used in the project, Wesa Perttola made an amazing video summarizing the whole field work week. The video can be found in YouTube under the account Dark Heritage or by clicking the subscription link on the side of this page or clicking the straight link here. Or you can just watch it below.

Samalla kun Wesa Perttola kertoi meille projektissa käyttämistään laitteista hän teki myös ihastuttavan video, jossa näkyy kenttätyöviikko koko komeudessaan. Videon löytää YouTubesta tililtä Dark Heritage, tai klikkaamalla sivun reinasta löytyvää kuvaketta, tai klikkaamalla suoraan tästä. Tai sitten voit katsoa sen suoraan tästä alta.

Wesa Perttola from University of Helsinki introduces the equipment used during the project / Wesa Perttola Helsingin yliopistosta esittelee projektin yhteydessä käyttämiään laitteita

Alla olevassa tekstissä Helsingin yliopiston arkeologi Wesa Perttola kertoo projektin yhteydessä käyttämistään kuvaus- ja äänityslaitteista. Tekstin lopusta löytyy luettelo laitteistosta. Wesan ansiosta kenttätöistä on taltioituna upeaa materiaalia, joista muutamia esitellään tässä kirjoituksessa.  Wesan käsialaa ovat myös kauniit ja opettavaiset videot, joiden tekemisestä hän kertookin tässä esittelyssä.

Below Wesa Perttola from the University of Helsinki’s archaeology department explains what equipment he has been using during the project for video, audio and pictures. In the end there is a full list of the equipment.

The story begins in Autumn of 2015 when we were wondering how to spruce up the corridor of the University of Helsinki’s archaeology department a bit and came up with the idea of a video display. There are always extra monitors floating about so I configured a Raspberry Pie 2 mini computer to repeat video files and a programmable socket timer to automatically turn them both on and off. Now if we only had some videos to display… The problem was that I had never used video editing software before. So last spring I started from scratch and learned the basics of Adobe Premiere Pro (and a little bit of After Effects) by practicing with the help of instructional videos on Youtube. You can see the slow progress on some of the videos on our Instagram here.

The next step was to figure out how to get decent footage. Photography is an integral part of archaeological documentation, so I already had some gear laying around suitable of shooting video as well: Canon EOS 60D digital SLR, GoPro 3 Black action camera and DJI Phantom 4 drone. Also got a Samsung Gear 360 camera a bit before the trip to Inari. Its resolution is not good enough for serious documentation (see examples from Dropbox here and here, you can use a Chrome add-on called Pano View to view it as a sphere), but you can capture fun moments with it like train timelapses or group photos.  Well, what can I say: I like my gadgets. 🙂

Can you spot the excavation area?

Can you spot the excavation area?

#Inaridig was a challenging place to film. First three days were so rainy that on site we could only use the GoPro with a waterproof case. Sadly, it also means that there is no proper audio for that footage and that there were some minor problems with the lens fogging up. The site is in a quite dense forest and that has its own complications: you can’t do much with a drone and when it’s sunny the shadows of the trees ruin the images.


On a rainy day.


On a sunny day.

The aerial looking images were captured with the GoPro dangling on the top of a 7-meter telescopic pole with a handle bar mount. The camera is controlled on a phone through Wi-Fi and the phone attached to the pole with Quad Lock Bike Mount so I can keep my both hands on the pole. You can see the pole and my feet in some of the shots where I had tilted the camera a bit too much. I came up with the setup while looking for a cheap and light method to take top down images of excavation areas. It not perfect though: the wide lens of the GoPro causes lots of barrel distortion and it is hard to say when the camera is level. If someone has a good idea how to implement a wireless tilt sensor to the back of the GoPro, please contact me!

The previous Lapland’s Dark Heritage Youtube video with Dr Iain Banks was shot with the Canon 60D. I used a tripod with a Manfrotto 502AH fluid video head for that smooth motion and a RØDE VideoMic Pro on top of the camera for the sound. At one point of the video you can hear the audio quality drop: I got a bit too eager and turned the camera (and the mic) a bit too far. Maybe a lavalier mic or the shotgun mic on a boom would have been a better choice. The edit was easy because Iain did a brilliant job off the cuff on the first go: there are no edits on the soundtrack and I just spliced the images in. You can see he has been on a TV show. All the music I use is from Free Music Archive. Searching for music fitting the scene is actually one of my favorite parts of making a video: it can take ages to find the perfect song, but there are real gems hidden there.

I have still lot to learn about filming and editing: if you look closely you might see that basic stuff like focus, exposure and white balance could use some tweaking. I also need to look into color grading. Next gadgets are already on their way: a DJI Osmo Mobile for smooth shots and a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 for 4k video. So be ready for some burning hot (sic!) videos in the future! Also would not mind having a proper 4k video camera at some point…


Full list of the equipments used.

–    Canon EOS 60D
–    GoPro 3 Black
–    Samsung Gear 360

–    Benro A2970F + Manfrotto 502AH
–    Benbo Trekker Mk II
–    CamSmart DSLR Shoulder Rig
–    Polaroid Video Shoulder Mount

–    RØDE VideoMic Pro

–    DJI Phantom 4

“Aerial” shots of the excavation areas:
–    7 m telescopic pole + GoPro Handlebar Mount + GoPro 3 Black, controlled by a phone attached to the pole with a Quad Lock Bike Mount

–    Adobe Premiere Pro
–    Adobe After Effects
–    Gear 360 Action Director
–    PTGui

A video from the excavation / Video kaivauksilta

We uploaded a video of the excavation in YouTube today. It is our first – and hopefully not last – video showing what the project is about. This video is about 5 minutes long and done by Wesa Perttola. In it Dr Iain Banks from University of Glasgow explains understandably and simply what we found in the second excavation area. Dr Banks did amazing job painting a picture of how life might have been during the time the German army was in Inari, and the project would like to thank him for participating in making this video.

Latasimme tänään ensimmäisen videon YouTubeen esittelemään projektia. Videon on tehnyt Wesa Perttola ja se kestää noin viisi minuuttia. Videolla Glasgow’n yliopiston arkeologi, Iain Banks, esittelee kaivausten löytöjä ja kuvailee millainen toisen maailmansodan aikainen kenttäsairaala olisi voinut mahdollisesti olla. Videolla on esitelty helposti ymmärrettävällä tavalla mitä kaivausten kakkospaikalta löytyi. Projektin jäsenet haluavat kiittää Banksiä osallistumisesta videon tekoon.

The amazing journey / Mieletön matka

We wanted to summarise our experience in Inari so we gathered a collage of the posts in different social medias. The journey starts from Helsinki with the packing of the van and ends in returning to the south side of the Arctic Circle. And what a ride it was! It is safe to say that Inari will always stay in our hearts and even if we cannot go back there physically, this will help us to visit the memories. Hopefully we were able to capture the essence of the adventure! Though the work is nowhere near done and the unwrapping is only beginning. The objects we found need to be studied, the interviews need to be transcribed, publications needs to be made, research reports needs to be written and a lot of other things. Luckily there is still more to look forward. Meanwhile enjoy the story!

Halusimme koota yhteen kokemuksiamme Inarista ja niinpä teimme tarinan yhdistellen eri kanavia sosiaalisesta mediasta. Matka alkaa pakettiauton pakkaamisesta ja päättyy napapiirin eteläiselle puolelle pujahtamiseen. Ja mikä reissu se olikaan! Inari pysyy sydämissämme vaikkemme sinne enää fyysisesti koskaan pääsisimmekään. Onneksi tämä muistuttaa meitä tulevaisuudessakin ajasta kentällä ja toivottavasti sellaisellekin, joka ei itse ollut mukana selviää tästä seikkailumme kohokohdat. Työmme ei kuitenkaan lopu tähän vaan esineitä pitää tutkia, raportteja kirjoittaa, haastatteluja litteroida, julkaisuja tehdä ja paljon muuta. Onneksi paljon on vielä tulossa ja sitä odotellessa kollaasia on kiva ihmetellä.

2016-08-06 00.08.56

Guest talks next wednesday / Vierailuluentoja ensi keskiviikkona

Guest talks next wednesday

As part of our field work week, our research collaborators visiting from the UK are giving guest talks at Siida Museum on Wednesday 3rd August. The lectures are in English, and start at 17.00 in the Auditorium of Siida.

Dr Gabriel Moshenska, University College London: “Air Raid Protection: An International Heritage Perspective.”

Dr Iain Banks, University of Glasgow: “In the Hands of the Enemy: PoW Camps in the Second World War.”

Each talk will last approximately 30 minutes. All are welcome!

Vierailuluentoja ensi keskiviikkona

Osana kenttätyöviikkoa saamme vieraiksi ulkomaalaisia tutkijoita. Keskiviikkona 3.8.  kaksi vierailevaa tutkijaa luennoi Siida-museon auditoriossa. Luennot ovat englanniksi ja alkavat kello 17:00.

Dr Gabriel Moshenska, University College London: “Vieraiden käsissä: Toisen maailmansodanaikaiset sotavankileirit.”

Dr Iain Banks, University of Glasgow: “Ilmatorjunta. Kansainvälisen kulttuuriperinnön näkökulma.”

Molemmat luennot kestävät noin puoli tuntia ja ovat avoimia kaikille. Tervetuloa!

Provincial museum / Lapin maakuntamuseo

Projektin opiskelijavahvistus Anni Tolppanen esittäytyy / Student member of the project Anni Tolppanen introduces herself

Projektiryhmä on kasvanut tuomalla mukaan muutaman opiskelijan ja esittelyvuorossa on arkeologian opiskelija Anni Tolppanen Aberdeenin yliopistosta. Kentältä löydettävien materiaalisten jäännösten lisäksi Anni osallistuu Inarin kaivauksiin haastattelemalla paikallisia. Lisätietoa Annin suunnitelmista kandinsa suhteen löytyy esittelysivulta.

The project has grew with few additional student members and this time it is we are introducing Anni Tolppanen. Anni is an archaeology student from University of Aberdeen. She is not only interested in the material findings of the upcoming excavations but she also plans to interview locals in Inari. More insight to her undergraduate dissertation in the introduction page.


Anni by the shore / Anni rannalla

Maisteriopiskelija Mirkka Hekkurainen mukaan projektiryhmään / Master Student Mirkka Hekkurainen joins the research team

Projektiryhmä on kasvanut tuomalla mukaan muutaman opiskelijan. Ensimmäisenä esittelemme maisterivaiheen opiskelijan, Mirkka Hekkuraisen, joka on mukana tekemässä graduaan osallistavasta etnografiasta ja synkästä kulttuuriperinnöstä. Mirkka tutkii osallistamista kaivausten lisäksi sosiaalisessa mediassa ja hänen(kin) työtään pääsee seuraamaan myös kotisohvalta käsin. Esittely ja linkit sosiaaliseen mediaan on vain klikkauksen päässä.

The research team grew with few students and first we will introduce master student Mirkka Hekkurainen. Mirkka is doing her master thesis about participatory ethnography and dark heritage. She does her research at the open excavation and in the social media. You can follow her (and others) work comfortably from your home couch. The introduction and the links to social media is only one click away.


Mirkka and a tar pit / Mirkka ja tervahauta