What do the sacrificial and socket stones tell us?
Andres Tvauri distinguishes between sacrificial and socket stones basing on their use: while reasons for sacrifices are usually known, the genesis of small sockets is still unclear. There are hundreds of stones (over 400) in Estonia related to different traditions that are known as sacrificial stones. Often they are thought to have sacrificial sockets. But in reality, the sockets made into stones were not related to sacrificing. Sacrificial stones can be classified into two classes: first, the stones with curing powers and second, the stones for making sacrifices for some mystical creature (gods, elves or ghosts). The author gives an overview of sacrificing rituals. Socket stones form another group of artifacts. In all Northern Europe the socket stones can be associated with land cultivation. It is probable that the sockets are related to fertility rituals in arable areas.
The future of Estonian ground water bodies
Kristjan Piirimäe observes the reasons behind the pollution leaking to water bodies and makes use of a computer model to predict their future. He explains how nutrients are brought to water bodies and how they act in the process of eutrophication. The catchment-based computer model worked out a “good” and a “bad” scenario for the future of Estonian water bodies. It can be concluded that the loads of phosphorus can be reduced, while inputs of nitrogen will remain to be a problem. Most of the nitrogen comes from agriculture, mostly from fertilizing and false manure treatment methods. However, the desired state of water bodies will not be met at least in half of the water bodies during the next decade even in the case of the best scenario.
Estonian Nature enquires
Külli Hiiesaar writes about the abundance of Colorado potato beetle.
Marjana Laine gives an overview of the effects of rabies vaccination of wild animals.
Tree of the Year: Discussions on ash tree
Mati Laane turns to etnobotany and modern gardening science to disprove the image of ash tree as a tree with a negative aura. He believes that ash tree was rather respected among our ancestors. The author also gives advices on foreign varieties and species of the ash tree for the use in our gardens.
Sven Zaèek reminds his first encounters with the predator of hidden lifestyle, illustrated with his photos of the animal and his traces.
Essay: Who or what by Ants Ilus
Vanilla and desserts hand in hand
Urmas Kokassaar introduces an old-time favorite spice – the vanilla, its use and cultivation. Vanilla plant belongs to the order of Orchids and originates from Mexico, where it is pollinated by local bee and honeybird species only. In plantations the vanilla plant is pollinated artificially by hand. While in old times vanilla was first and foremost used as a medicinal plant, it nowadays is used mostly in food products.
Protected area: Kuimetsa landcsape protection area
Reigo Roasto describes one of Estonia’s largest and most outstanding karst areas (46 ha), located in the Rapla County. There are 9 caves that a man can climb in, and numerous other karst features.
European rarities in Estonia: beetle Oxyporus mannerheimi
Ilmar Süda advises to pay attention to a tiny endangered beetle while mushroom-picking in the autumn forest. These black beetles parasite and develop on mushrooms. Its area of distribution is narrow in Europe, and it is mostly found in South-Eastern part of Estonia. Throughout Europe, though, not much is known about the habitat preference of the beetle, so protection measures are difficult to arrange.
Interview: Trees give meaning to life
Toomas Kukk has interviewed Ants Ilus, a dendrophil.
Hiking trail: The nature trail of Neljateeristi, filled with mystery and diversity
Toomas Jüriado shares his impressions on hiking on a nature trail in the Kõpu Peninsula, The Hiiumaa Island, with one of its founders, Urve Merendi. The trail is really naturally diverse, offering different forest habitats, springs, mires, stones, seashore, sand dunes and characteristic architecture of the area.
On Mid-Scandinavian slash-and-burn lands and in smoke huts
Ott Kurs takes a look at the ancient lifestyle of Mid-Scandinavian Forest Finns, whose slash-and-burn methods and smoke huts resemble the life of ancient Estonians. The area in Mid-Scandinavia, along the border of the nowadays Norway and Sweden, was first inhabited in the 16th century by Finns who emigrated from the territory of today’s Finland in search of new lands. During the centuries the Finns were made to assimilate with the Swedes, and the author gives an interesting overview of the research of the nation group. The lifestyle and language of the Finns lasted for about 400 years. Nowadays it is possible to learn about them from museums and a few dedicated people.