eesti teaduste
akadeemia kirjastus
SINCE 1997
Archaeology cover
Estonian Journal of Archaeology
ISSN 1736-7484 (Electronic)
ISSN 1406-2933 (Print)
PDF | doi: 10.3176/arch.2013.2.03

Rivo Bernotas

In the area that makes up modern-day Estonia, medieval brick buildings have been found in several different towns. Despite this fact, medieval brick-making has still not yet been specifically studied. As the production of bricks as a field of research on its own has been somewhat neglected, even less attention has been given to its different aspects, which bear witness to brick-making. In this article, I am summarizing the material considering brick-making in the medieval Estonian area. Using the historical-comparative method and a comparison of the dates of other brick sites in Europe, whether and how the existing data about brick-making in what is today Estonia correlates with the so-called construction boom in the 14th century in the same area will be analysed. Based on the research in the current article, it might be suggested that the beginning of brick-making clearly correlates with the beginning of the construction boom in the Estonian area in the 14th century. The presented dates support the hypothesis that the construction of the town wall of Tartu began in the first half of the 14th century. Brick-making was essential for the development of the medieval urban townscape. There have been found only a limited number of archaeo-logical evidence of medieval brick-making from Estonian towns besides Tartu. It might be suggested that brick was a rather expensive building material in Estonia, limited only to castles and buildings in the townscape such as fortifications, ecclesiastical buildings and private houses. Even though there is little information preserved about brick-making workers, it seems probable that the brick-masters were often foreigners who worked outside their hometown and country boundaries.


Alttoa, K. 1992. Eesti tellisgootika uurimisseisust. – Eesti Teadusliku Seltsi Rootsis aastaraamat, XI, 1988–1990. Stockholm, 9–26.

Alttoa, K. 2011. Tartu Jaani kirik. (Eesti kirikud, III.) Muinsuskaitseamet, Tallinn.

Aun, M. 1995. Tartu keskaegse eeslinna kultuurkihist Küüni tänava arheoloogilise materjali põhjal. – Tartu arheoloogiast ja vanemast ehitusloost. Ed. H. Valk. (Tartu Ülikooli Arheoloogia Kabineti toimetised, 8.) Tartu, 91–97.

Baier, G. 1976. Das Stadtbild als Spiegel der Geschichte. Die großen Küstenstädte und ihre Baudenkmale. – Denkmale in Mecklenburg. Ihre Erhaltung und Pflege in den Bezirken Rostock, Schwerin und Neubrandenburg. Weimar, 53–136.

Bernotas, R. 2011. Medieval town wall of Tartu in the light of recent research. – EJA, 15: 1, 56–72.

Bernotas, R. 2012. New insights on the changes of townscape in 14th-century Tartu. – EJA, 16: 2, 153–168.

Bernotas, R. 2013a. Estonian small towns in Middle Ages – archaeology and history of urban defense. – Estonian Historical Journal. In print.

Bernotas, R. 2013b. Medieval fortifications of Pärnu. An archaeological approach. – Zeitschrift für Archäologie des Mittelalters. In print.

Bernotas, R. & Roog, R. 2012. Aruanne arheoloogilisest järelvalvest Tartus, Magistri tänaval ja Raekoja platsil toimunud elektrikaablitrassi rajamisel 2012. aasta augustis. Manuscript in the National Heritage Board.

Biermann, F. 2012. Brick technology and use in Medieval Pomerania – the monastic example. – 18th Annual Meeting of European Association of Archaeologists. 29. August – 1. September 2012, Helsinki, Finland. Abstracts. Ed. E.-M. Viitanen. Helsinki, 266.

Binding, G. 2004. Medieval Building Techniques. Tempus, Stroud.

Bitter, P. 2010. ‘In de vesten, tot Alcmair’ – inside the moats, at Alkmaar. – Lübecker Kolloquium zur Stadtarchäologie im Hanseraum, VII: Die Befestigungen. Verlag Schmidt Römhold, Lübeck, 147–162.

Courtney, P. 2006. Armies, militias and urban landscapes: England, France and the Low Countries 1500–1900. – Cities in the World, 1500–2000. Papers Given at the Conference of the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology, April 2002. Eds A. Green & R. Leech. Maney Publishing, London, 167–193.

Drake, K. 2007. Gotische Backsteinbaukunst in Finnland. – Backstein Baukunst. Zur Denkmalkultur des Ostseeraums. Dokumentation der Tagung zum 75. Geburtstag von Gottfried Kiesow in der Wismarer St. Georgen-Kirche, 31.8.–1.9.2006. Deutsche Stiftung Denkmalschutz, Bonn.

Hansson, M. 2006. Aristocratic landscape. The spatial ideology of the medieval aristocracy. (Lund Studies of Historical Archaeology, 2.) Almqvist & Wiksell International.

Harjula, J. & Immonen, V. 2012. Reviving old archaeological material. A project analysing finds from the early medieval fortified site of Koroinen in Turku. – Castella Maris Baltici, X. Eds K. Uotila, T. Mikkola & A.-M. Vilkuna. Society for Medieval Archaeology in Finland, Saarijärvi, 183–190.

Heinloo, E. 2006. Tartu lõunapoolne eeslinn kesk- ja varauusajal arheoloogia andmetel. Peaseminari­töö. Tartu. Manuscript in the Institute of History and Archaeology of the University of Tartu.

Heinloo, E. 2012. Küüni tänava rekonstrueerimise II etapi käigus teostatud arheoloogilised uuringud 2010. aastal. Manuscript in the Town Museum of Tartu.

Heinloo, E. & Vissak, R. 2010. Küüni tänava rekonstrueerimise käigus toimunud arheoloogiline järelvalve 2009. aastal. Manuscript in the Town Museum of Tartu.

Herrmann, C. 2007. Mittelalterliche Architektur im Preussenland. Michael Imhof Verlag, Petersberg.

Herrmann, C. 2012. Monastic orders as pioneers of brick architecture in medieval Poland, Pomerania and Prussia. – 18th Annual Meeting of European Association of Archaeologists. 29. August – 1. September 2012, Helsinki, Finland. Abstracts. Ed. E.-M. Viitanen. Helsinki, 266.

Hinton, D. A. 1990. Archaeology, Economy and Society: England from the Fifth to the Fifteenth Century. Seaby, London.

Janssen, H. L. 2002. Patrician and aristocratic town residences in s’Hertogenbosch c. 1250–c. 1550 – the archaeological evidence. – Medieval Europe Basel 2002: Centre, Region, Periphery. Vol. 2: sections 4 and 5. Eds G. Helmig, B. Scholkmann & M. Untermann. Folio Verlag Dr. G. Wesselkamp, Hertingen, Basel, 140–148.

Kivi, A. 1966. Tallinna manufaktuuride ja tööstuste ajaloost. – Tallinn. Linna asustus- ja ehitus­ajaloolisi materjale seitsmes köites. Eds E. Alamaa & A. Kivi. Eesti NSV Riiklik Ehituskomitee, Tallinn, 120–329.

Kristensen, H. K. 2007. The production and use of bricks. – The Archaeology of Medieval Europe. Vol. 1. Eds J. Graham-Campbell & M. Valor. Aarhus University Press, 230–232.

Lumiste, M. & Kangropool, R. 1990. Niguliste kirik. Kirjastus Kunst, Tallinn.

Muslow, R. 2001. Rostock – Medieval Archaeology: An Encyclopedia. Garland Publishing, New York, London, 289–292.

Peres, T. M. & Connaster, J. B. 2008. Brick making as a local industry in Antebellum Kentucky and Tennessee. – Tennessee Archaeology, Vol. 3, issue 2. Eds M. C. Moore & K. E. Smith. Tennessee Council for Professional Archaeology, 105–122.

Piekalski, J. 2011. Wrocława in the twelfth–sixteenth century. – The Archaeology of Medieval Europe. Vol. 2: Twelfth to Sixteenth Centuries. Eds M. Carver & J. Klápště. Aarhus University Press, 376–378.

Poklewski-Koziełł, T. 2001. The castle in the defensive system of royal towns in Great Poland in the 14th century. – Castella Maris Baltici, 3–4. Eds K. Alttoa, K. Drake, K. Pospieszny & K. Uotila. Society for Medieval Archaeology in Finland, Turku, Tartu, Malbork, 145–149.

Poklewski-Koziełł, T. 2004. The royal castles and defensive towns on trading routes through Poland to the Baltic Sea in the 14th–15th century. A contribution to the history of country defence system planning. – Castella Maris Baltici, 6. Ed. A. Kuncevičius. Savastis, Vilnius, 147–152.

Ratilainen, T. 2012a. Tiiliä tulkitsemassa. Hattulan Pyhän Ristin kirkon muuraaminen keskiajalla. Licenciate thesis. Turun yliopisto. Historian, kulttuurin ja taiteiden tutkimuksen laitos. Turku.

Ratilainen, T. 2012b. To study medieval brick building technique by applying digital surveying methods cases: Holy Cross Church of Hattula and Häme Castle. – Castella Maris Baltici, X. Eds
K. Uotila, T. Mikkola & A.-M. Vilkuna. Society for Medieval Archaeology in Finland, Saarijärvi, 197–208.

Russow, E. & Pärn, A. 2008. Archäologische Untersuchungen in Haapsalu: Bischofsburg, Marktplatz und Vorstadt. – AVE, 2007, 127–138.

Smith, T. P. 1985. The Medieval Brickmaking Industry in England 1400–1450. (British Archaeological Reports. British Series, 138.) B.A.R., Oxford.

Smith, T. P. 2004. The late medieval bricks and brickwork of London Wall in Saint Alphage Garden, EC2. (London Archaeologist, 10, Autumn 2004.) London Archaeologist Association,

Stopford, J. 1993. Modes of production among medieval tilers. – Medieval Archaeology, 37, 93–108.

Sundnér, B. 1997. Building stone as archaeological source material. – Visions of the Past. Trends and Traditions in Swedish Medieval Archaeology. Eds H. Andersson, P. Carelli & L. Ersgård. (Lund Studies in Medieval Archaeology, 19.) Central Board of National Antiquities, Institute of Archaeology, Lund University, 73–90.

Tamm, J. 2002. Eesti keskaegsed kloostrid. Eesti Entsüklopeediakirjastus, Tallinn.

Thomas, C. 2002. The Archaeology of Medieval London. Sutton Publishing, Stroud Gloucestershire.

Torbus, T. 1998. Die Konventsburgen im Deutschordensland Preussen. R. Oldenbourg Verlag, München.

Tvauri, A. 2000. The archaeological investigations in Viljandi, Tartu and Kärkna. – AVE, 1999, 54–62.

Tvauri, A. 2002. Archaeological investigations at the Bishop’s Castle of Varbek (Kastre). – AVE, 2001, 152–159.

Tvauri, A. 2005. Archaeological investigations at the medieval bishops’s castle of Varbek (Uue-Kastre) in 2002–2004. – AVE, 2004, 127–132.

Tvauri, A. 2009. Aruanne arheoloogilistest kaevamistest Viljandis Lossi 21 hoone (endine kino “Rubiin”) idaküljel 2009. aastal. Manuscript in the National Heritage Board.

Tvauri, A. 2010. Archaeological excavations at Lossi 21, Viljandi. – AVE, 2009, 157–163.

Tvauri, A. & Bernotas, R. 2006. Archaeological investigations carried out by the University of Tartu in 2005. – AVE, 2005, 101–110.

Tvauri, A. & Bernotas, R. 2007. Archaeological investigations in Tartu and Vorbuse settlementsite. – AVE, 2006, 167–181.

Valk, H. 1995. Tartu Toomkiriku kalmistust ja ümbruskonna varasemast asustusest. – Tartu arheoloogiast ja vanemast ehitusloost. Ed. H. Valk. (Tartu Ülikooli Arheoloogia Kabineti toimetised, 8.) Tartu, 1995, 59–80.

Vissak, R. 2000. Results of the archaeological investigations at the SE foot of Toomemägi, Tartu. – AVE, 1999, 113–120.

Vissak, R. 2003. Archaeological investigations of the Laiuse castle. – AVE, 2002, 118–126.

Back to Issue