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Call for presentations


“The bride of the grave and the forest brother”

Grave goods expanding the knowledge, community interests and beliefs reflected in archeology

October 25-26, 2019 at Vana-Võrumaa kultuurikoda (Katariina allee 11, Võru, Estonia) and Võru Institute (Tartu street 48, Võru, Estonia)


For humanities, geographical peripheries are crucial areas of cultural and language contact. Peripheries can also offer shelter for people during hostile times. For instance, because of its peripheral location and massive forests, Võru area functioned as a refuge during and after the last war. However, atypical migration routes, such as pilgrimages, can also bring people into peripheries; an example of such destination is the Vastseliina Castle. Old living and burial places can provide insights into local ways of life. Using new technologies to examine the archeological excavations allows to explore the living environment, diseases, and causes of death of the deceased.

The way human remains are handled is regulated by social taboos, many of which are informed by religious restrictions and rituals. Regulations nowadays also include moral principles, including research ethics. Furthermore, excavations are guided by several other norms and value issues: who is justified (and qualified) to do it; where is the right place to rebury the remains; what else is valuable and worth conserving and marking besides the specific findings?

The conference presentations include archeological themes from different centuries, including medieval funerals and the partisans’ burial places. Today archeologists are mainly engaged in rescue or preventive archeology and emergency excavations, rather than in research archaeology, which remains rare. It is highly possible that because of less construction and land development in South Estonia, some key issues may remain unsurfaced.

Keynote speakers are Mauri Kiudsoo, Martin Malve, Aigi Rahi-Tamm, Arnold Unt and Heiki Valk.

The conference will take place on October 25, 2019. On October 26th, participants are welcome to join a guided tour to Vastseliina Fortress and explore the last refuges of the Forest Brother partisans.

Registration, fees and other relevant information

 To participate, please complete the registration form by September 15, 2019. To participate with a 30-minute presentation (20 minutes for presentation and 10 minutes for discussion), please include a working title and an abstract (max. 200 words) of your presentation in one of the working languages. The working languages of the conference are Estonian and English. As no translation will be provided, it is recommended to prepare slides in English when presenting in Estonian, and vice versa.

The total fee for the conference including the guided tour (October 25-26) is 60 euros, and 30 euros without the tour (October 25). Only bank transfers are accepted. The fee should be transferred by the due date indicated on the invoice that will be sent to the registered participants via e-mail. Reimbursements will not be made. The fee includes meals and transportation from Tallinn/Tartu to Võru. For participants who attend both days, transportation back to Tallinn/Tartu is also provided. The bus will depart from Tallinn in the morning of October 25th and will arrive back to Tallinn in the evening of October 26th. The exact times and locations of the conference bus will be announced in the next circular letter. Make sure to arrange your accommodation. The hotels closest to the conference venue include Hotel Tamula, Georgi Hotell and Ränduri Guesthouse.


The next conference circular will be sent to those who have registered in September. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at:

Võru Instituut, Tartu street 48, 65609 Võru, Estonia

e-mail: wi@wi.ee,

phone: +372 56213174 (Evar Saar, researcher)


phone: +372 56297354 (Mirja Ots, museum department)


Looking forward to seeing you at the conference!



See previous conferences