Gold ring from Ure, Saaremaa. For more information, look: here.

Photos are from: here.

We are very glad to have been part of the filming the third season of the documentary series “Treasures of the World” led by historian Bettany Hughes. Come and discover in the second episode the treasures found from Saaremaa together with us! 

Exploring places rich with amazing civilisations, unfolding excavations and startling new discoveries, the third season of Bettany Hughes’ Treasures of the World returns to Channel 4 on the 6th April at 7pm.  

At a time when the world feels more fractured than ever, Bettany and her production team and their network of international archaeologists are unswerving in their commitment making films that deepen our understanding of the human experience and evidence the joined-up nature of global history from all points of the compass.  

Bettany Hughes’ Treasures of the World tells the stories of extraordinary people who’ve changed the destiny of humankind and archaeological wonders that shape the story of the world. Bettany travels to places where a mosaic of cultures generates a dynamic history and where the past lives on in the present. 

In this third season of Treasures of the World, Bettany visits the Estonian enclave where women rule, experiences extraordinary ancient traditions still practiced by the Muslim Pomaks in Bulgaria and discovers the Amazon warrior graves in Azerbaijan which are redrawing the boundaries between myth and history.  Across Albania, Georgia and the Eastern Mediterranean she discovers remote communities, fresh archaeological digs and surprising untold stories.  

Sandstone Global has put together an award-winning team of filmmakers and creatives to produce an epic, cinematic journey showcasing the world’s most stunning and significant historical sites. An immersive, joyful, once in a lifetime journey to the heart of the human story.
Source: here.
The episodes on Channel 4 website are: here.

Source: here.


The first Annual Conference of Estonian Humanities took place in Tallinn University on 10-12 April, during which Piia Sandrak introduced our information centre, the website( and the databases here.

There is a lot of interest in our website, both at home and abroad: for example, during the quiet month of March, we received numerous visits from the USA, Australia, Poland and many other countries around the world. As Saaremaa’s (especially early) history is very international, we are particularly pleased that we have been able to create an information centre that can be used by enthusiasts and researchers from Estonia and abroad. At the beginning of the year, the Estonian state also decided to support us through the EKKD programme, which has enabled us to continue with the development of the site and for what we are very grateful!



WHAT? Archaeological excavations at the Valjala hillfort continue for the third summer and this year we are more committed than ever! Come and see for yourself what the earth has revealed to us!

How was Valjala hillfort built? Was it at the time of chronicler Henry of Livonia a stone fortress? Was it still in use after the crusades

WHEN? 19 August 2023, 12:00-14:00!

WHERE? Valjala hillfort: click here to see the location on the map!

The event is free of charge.


From 2 to 23 August, Osiliana will again be digging in the Valjala hillfort, this time mainly in a large rampart. We would like to find out when it was built, how it was rebuilt and whether the stone fortress really looked like the 12th-13th century fortifications in Öland during the time of the Latvian Henry.

This year, helpers for the excavations are very welcome and needed. You can come for a few days as a volunteer, or if you have the time and the enthusiasm, you can come for a little longer as a paid worker.

Anyone who feels that physical work wouldn’t break their back and would like to be part of discovering the early history of the Saaremaa, please feel free to contact:!


Exhibition: ‘Face to face with medieval Saaremaa islanders’ at Saaremaa Museum is opened from 14.07.2023 until 30.08.2024!

The 13th-century is considered a revolutionary period in the history of Estonia, as then these areas were joined to the Catholic European, and the dominance of mainly German immigrants in the society began.

The 13th- and 14th-century following the Crusades are a time of which we have only a handful of written sources. Approaches based on archaeological sources and gaining influence only in the last decade emphasize the active participation of locals in shaping medieval Livonia. Their role seems to be especially paramount in Saaremaa. Here, even after the Crusades, the power remained for the most part with the same families that ruled before the islanders were officially converted to Christianity and subjected to new lords in 1227.

This exhibition places the viewer literally face-to-face with a persons from the past.

Burials from the 13th century, already belonging to the Christian era, have been excavated in Saaremaa since the 1950s. They have been studied by several archaeologists, but the development of technology and financial possibilities have set their own limits when drawing conclusions.

This exhibition was completed thanks to private entrepreneurs who shouldered the resource-intensive work of archaeologists. Kristjan Rahu’s funding to Foundation Osiliana made it possible to commission scientific analyses, carry out research and create realistic reconstructions of people who once lived, two of whom can be met at the exhibition.

With the help of a research grant from the Postimees Foundation and Cultural Endowment of Estonia the clothing and jewelry of these people were recreated.

Displayed fragments of the life of the islanders from the 13th and 14th century emphasize simultaneously both International communication and strong local characteristics. The exhibition is a collaborative project of Saaremaa Museum Foundation, Foundation Osiliana, and the Postimees Foundation. In addition to the five curators, who are archaeologists and historians, a number of collaborators contributed to the realization of the exhibition. Reconstructions of medievaal residents of Saaremaa were made by specialists from Sweden and Germany, and replicas of objects, jewelry, and clothing were made by local craftsmen.

The employees of the Saaremaa Museum and the artists who assisted them did an enormous job in assembling and designing the exhibition. Thank you all!

The entire exhibition is bound together by a belt chain running through different themes, a piece of jewelry unique to a medieval Saaremaa woman. Through its large rings, you can see finds that were preserved in the ground, obtain answers to questions, and read about things you might never have known to ask about. One can see medieval inhabitants of Saaremaa, but also yourself, past and present. Perhaps we are not so different after all!


Curators: Marika Mägi PhD (SA Osiliana / Tallinn University), Riina Rammo PhD (University of Tartu); Piia Sandrak (SA Osiliana / Tallinn University); Jaana RatasKarin Rannaäär (SA Osiliana / University of Tartu)

Exhibition design: Karmo Menda; Graphic design: Mare Kõrtsini; Light designer: Airi Eras


Reconstructions of skeletons: Oscar Nilsson (Arts & Sciences, Stockholm), Özgür Bulut PhD (Invent Human Academy Tübingen)

Koljude 3D modelleerimine: Ragnar Saage (University of Tartu)

Reconstructions of objects: Edvards Puciriuss (University of Tartu Viljandi Culture Academy), Astri Kaljus (University of Tartu Viljandi Culture Academy), Indrek Jets PhD, Guna Zommere

DNA analyses: Kristiina Tambets PhD, (University of Tartu Institute of Genomics), Lehti Saag PhD, (University of Tartu Institute of Genomics), Stefania Sasso (University of Tartu Institute of Genomics)

Biological anthropology: Raili Allmäe PhD (SA Osiliana / Tallinn University), Martin Malve (University of Tartu), Maris Niinesalu-Moon (SA Osiliana / University of Tartu), Rimantas Jankauskas (University of Vilnius)

Isotopes: Maris Niinesalu-Moon (SA Osiliana / University of Tartu)

Conservation: Tarvi Toome (Tallinn University), Karin Rannaäär (SA Osiliana / University of Tartu)

Public-and educational programmes: Jürje Koert (SA Saaremaa Museum)

Marketing: Rita Rahu (SA Saaremaa Museum)

Redaction: Olavi Pesti (SA Saaremaa Museum)

Translator: Peeter Alan Tammisto (University of Tartu)

Exposition construction technicians: Tõnis KallasPerti KaskToomas HarjusRoland Adamson (SA Saaremaa Museum), Heino Jürgenstein (Kurelto OÜ)


Museum shop exhibition range: Liisi Ots (SA Saaremaa Museum)

Photographer: Aivo Põlluäär (SA Saaremaa Museum)

Project manager: Maret Kukkur (SA Saaremaa Museum)

Director of SA Saaremaa Museum: Rita Valge

Project partners and supporters: Foundation OsilianaSaaremaa Museum FoundationUniversity of TallinnUniversity of TartuPostimees Foundation (POST4)Cultural Endowment of Estonias

Gallery from the opening:


From 16 February, everyone in Tallinn will be able to meet the Salme Vikings in Seaplane Harbour!

A travelling exhibition, created in cooperation between Saaremaa Museum and Motor OÜ, will showcase the artefacts that were given to Viking warriors as burial offerings, giving us an insight into the life and customs of the Vikings.

In the Seaplane Harbour, the exhibition will be complemented by accessibility solutions for people with special needs.

Visitors will also be invited to try on Viking clothes and paddle through the Strait of Salme like Vikings.

See more: here!


From 3 February to 5 March the Saaremaa Museum is hosting a travelling exhibition “Archaeological Fieldwork in Estonia 2022”!

Four excavations carried out in Saaremaa last year are also represented.

In addition, you can see some of the most beautiful finds that have been added to the archaeological collection of the Saaremaa Museum in recent years.

See more: here.


On 20 August, we presented the ongoing archaeological excavations in the Valjala hillfort, the findings so far and the first hypotheses.

Thank you to everyone who came to see us!

Margus Muld from ERR was also present, see the news clip: here.

WHAT? Foundation Osiliana archaeological excavations at the Valjala hillfort continues this summer!

WHEN? 20 August 2022, 12:00-14:00!

WHERE? Valjala hillfort: click here to see the location on the map!

The event is free of charge.

Come and see for yourself what the excavations have revealed!

The event on our Facebook page.


On 9 July, Asva Viking Village hosted a popular fortress-day, during which Marika Mägi spoke about the life of the 13th century islanders.


In 2008 and 2010, the remains of two pre-Viking ships, together with skeletons and antiquities, were discovered in SalmE, Saaremaa.

The uniqueness of these ships is not only important in the Estonian context, but has also attracted a lot of attention in Europe and the wider world. It could be said that these finds have rewritten Viking history.

An international conference “Vikings before the Vikings” will take place on 6-7 May 2022 to summarise and discuss more than a decade of research.

The conference will take place in Thule Koja, Kuressaare, Saaremaa. A live webcast will be organised via the Worksup environment (only registered users will have access to the virtual platform).

The working language of the conference will be English, with simultaneous translation into Estonian.

Registration is open until 22.04.2022.

For more information on registration and other information, click here.


WHAT? Come and see the archaeological research around Valjala hillfort Saaremaa’s most powerful hillfort from the 12th-13th centuries continues to hide a wealth of secrets. This week’s excavations will try to uncover some of them.

WHEN? 31 July 2021, at 14:00!

WHERE? Valjala hillfort: click here to see the location on the map!



Gallery of Pöide and Tornimäe events.

For more pictures: click here!

WHAT? On the Open Farm Day, the Viking farm world is also open! Maybe not the farms directly, but Pöide hillfort, which was an important centre of Saaremaa in the Viking Age. It has been archaeologically excavated and some things are known about its history in both the Viking and medieval periods.

On 25 July, starting at 12:00, you will have the opportunity to meet the archaeologist Marika Mägi, one of the former excavationist of the Pöide fortress, and learn about this magnificent monument and the world that surrounded it in its time. The event is free and open to all participants until 14:00.

The introduction to the Viking Age will continue on 25 July from 15:00 to 17:00 on the Tornimäe, next to the church, also free of charge. This site has also been excavated and found to be one of the largest known Viking harbours in Saaremaa. The very abundant animal and fish bones from Tornimäe tell the story of the daily meal of the Viking islanders, which was also served in the harbour to visitors from elsewhere. Come and hear about the Viking harbours and seafaring in Saaremaa, as well as what people ate and drank in those days! For the brave ones, you can sample the food and drink of the past!

WHERE? 25 July 2021, 12:00 – 14:00 in Pöide and 15:00-17:00 in Tornimäe.

WHERE? Pöide hillfort: click here to see the location on the map!

In Tornimäe, next to the church: click here to see the location on the map!


Gallery of Salme event:

WHAT? In this panel discussion, archaeologist Marika Mägi will talk about her recent excavations and research related to Saaremaa and Foundation Osiliana.

WHEN? 10 July 2021, 16:00 – 17:30.

WHERE? Salme river harbour: see map here!

See also the video of the Salme Viking Centre presenting this summer’s activities!


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