The archaeological collection of Tallinn University consists of the following sub-collections:

  • Archaeological collections (incl. artefacts and ecofacts: items, numismatics, animal and human bones), with an approximate amount of 1.5 million finds, which include 107,000 coins, 1,400 treasured objects, and ca. 20,000 boxes of animal and human bones.
  • Archaeological archive or documentation collection and library (incl. excavation documents and maps, speciality publications and manuscripts).
  • Collections supporting research (incl. reference collections of bones, seeds, plant remains, also soil, charcoal, wood and metal samples).

The archaeological research collection is constantly growing, reaching 1,000 to 20,000 artefacts per year. Such a large variation in the receipt of new finds is due to the difference in excavation volumes. In addition to the material gathered from archaeological excavations, the collections are also expanded with finds from landscape inspections and randomly found artefacts.


The programming of the TALAR (Archaeology Database of Tallinn University) started in 2005 as part of a national programme “Research Collections of the Humanities and Natural Sciences”. A very large amount of archaeological data is now accessible in it. Since the beginning of 2020, TALAR has been hosted on the servers of the Academic Library of Tallinn University. Archaeology database is primarily intended for archaeologists and is accessible to registered users.

As the archaeological bone collection is registered in TALAR only by bone boxes, the need arose in 2015 for a new database in which the content of these boxes would be “open”. That year, the archaeozoological collection was one of the development objects of the research infrastructures roadmap “Natural History archives and information Network” (NATARC), and ARHIS, an updated archaeological data system, was established within the project period. ARHIS is intended as a working space only for registered users, specialists of both Tallinn and Tartu universities.

The Open Data of archaeology is displayed on the ARHEST (Estonian Archaeology Datasets) website. Once the system is completed, archaeological data from the TALAR, ARHIS, TARA (Archaeology Database of Tartu University) and MuIS (Museums Public Portal) can be brought together.


Official documents relating to the Archaeological Research Collection:

  1. Procedure for the use of archaeological collections in English
  2. Procedure for the use of archaeological library in English

Opening hours

The storage rooms and archives of the archaeological collections and library can be visited from Monday to Friday between 10:00 and 16:00 by prior arrangement.

For visiting, please write