Rivo BERNOTAS
(University of Turku, Finland)

Abstract: The aim of the current paper is to summarize the results obtained from the excavations of the town wall of Pärnu, Estonia and to answer the question, how and in what form it is preserved in the ground. Also the possible time of construction of the wall will be analyzed on the basis of recent data. In addition the significance of the wall for the medieval Old Livonian residents is discussed. The material and datings obtained using the historical-comparative method, 14C method and dendrochronological method will be in focus in the present paper.
The town wall of Pärnu is almost completely demolished and apart from the Red Tower, nothing of it is visible on the ground nowadays. The results of the urban excavations show that the wall was built of fieldstones which were binded with lime mortar. Limestone, brick and roof tile fragments were used in the masonry construction joints. In the eastern part of the wall, clay was used as damp proofing. In some places the log raft was laid underneath the wall.
The research suggests that based on the new information the construction of the medieval town wall of Pärnu can quite possibly be dated to the second half of the 14th century. The new material shows, that it can be assumed that in addition to external military threats from enemies, one reason for the construction of the town wall of Pärnu was its symbolic significance to the town’s residents as well as to the governors of the adjacent territories. Comparing the dating of the medieval town wall of Pärnu presented in this paper with other walled Old Livonian medieval towns, the construction of walls appears to have begun in the whole Old Livonian territory in the 14th century

Keywords: medieval urban archaeology, town walls, natural scientific datings