ancient chewing gum


During this morning’s amble through my blog list, imagine my surprise reading this at Mirabilis:

A 5,000-year-old piece of chewing gum has been discovered by an archaeology student from the University of Derby. Sarah Pickin, 23, found the lump of birch bark tar while on a dig in western FINLAND. (emphasis mine)

The story comes from BBC News, which offered more interesting related links, such as to the University of Derby, UK, home of the dig’s volunteers.

Most intriguing for me was to find and learn about the Kierikki Stone Age Centre, the area of the dig. Located in northwest Finland, just north of the city of Oulu, it is about 200 km. south of the Arctic Circle. This discovery is also posted on the Centre’s website in English, and has some good photos of Sarah Pickin, this piece of “Neolithic chewing gum” (shown above), plus her other finds of a slate arrow and part of an amber ring.

Finland doesn’t often come up in international archaeological news, so this was cool for me. Who would think dirty old gum could be so interesting? Amazing proof that there were humans living so far north 5,000 years ago.

August 20, 2007 in Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, Neat stuff, Rock Art & Archaeology by Marja-Leena