Jan Fast
Humanist of the day

Jan Fast

The one-time punk rocker Jan Fast is an archaeologist with a long career supervising public excavations behind him. His first digs were in the late 1960s when, as a small boy, he picked among the remnants of the WWII fortifications at Hanko, the most southwesterly point on the Finnish coastline. As part of his work at the Heureka Science Park in Vantaa, he took charge of the ongoing excavations at nearby Jokiniemi during the 1990s and in 2014. Jan Fast is a born performer and popular lecturer. His particular research interests are the Neolithic Period, or New Stone Age, and the archaeology relating to the Second World War.

Jan Fast

Born June 24, 1962, Helsinki

MA 2013 (archaeology), University of Helsinki

1997–2014 Public archaeology excavation projects, exhibitions, lecturing, teaching
1990–1997 Heureka Science Park
1986–1990 Archaeological fieldwork for Finland's National Board of Antiquities

Research areas: prehistoric Finland, conflict archaeology of World War II in Finland

Publications: Several articles on archaeology for upper secondary school history textbooks as well as various publications and papers. Autobiography “I arkeologens fotspår” ('In the footsteps of an archaeologist ') to be published in 2016.

Important research projects: The Stone Age habitat in Jokiniemi, Vantaa and “Deutsches Lager Hanko 1942–1944” ('Hanko German camp') as a part of a larger conflict archaeology research project “Hankoniemi varuskunta- ja sotatoimialueena 1940–1945” ('Hankoniemi as a garrison and military zone, 1940–1945').

Written by Jan Fast and Riitta-Ilona Hurmerinta (ed.)
Translated by John Calton

The Stone Age settlement in Jokiniemi, Vantaa was one of the largest group of dwellings in the Neolithic Period in Finland (3900-3300 B.C.). Archaeologist Jan Fast has arranged public archaeology excavations in the area in collaboration with the Finnish Science Centre, Heureka in the years 1990-1994 and 2014.

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When I worked at Heureka between 1990 and 1997 I learned a lot about teaching, and I want to apply that information to archaeology and archaeological excavations. I visit schools, mainly primary schools, and tell the pupils about the work of an archaeologist almost every week. Since the 1990s, I have conducted archaeological excavations with secondary and especially upper secondary school students. The 'learning by doing' method works especially well with archaeology.

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My dreams

My dream is to work as an archaeologist for the rest of my life, but to constantly reinvent myself and keep up with the developments in my field. Then, some day when I'm up in heaven, my dream is to play the song “Blitzkrieg Bop” with The Ramones.