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In a large part of Finland archaeological sites are typically located in forests. Stone Age settlement sites and Bronze Age burial cairns, in particular, often lie in commercial forests. Their maintenance requires getting acquainted with local forestry issues, and occasionally also cooperation with forestry professionals. Maintenance usually takes the form of opening up the landscape by thinning and removing trees from the archaeological structures, but the aims and practical measures vary from site to site.
From the point of view of site maintenance, forest thinning is usually a positive operation, since it makes the landscape more open and exposes the archaeological site to view. The aim of thinning the conifer-dominated forests around archaeological sites is usually to create a forest with a more varied species and age structure. All trees growing on the visible archaeological structures are felled, because their roots may damage the structures. Thinning should preferably be done by forestry professionals during the winter. Driving vehicles over the archaeological structures is prohibited and the work should be done with as light machinery as possible to avoid the development of deep tracks. Most of the potential problems can be avoided by employing a lumberjack with a horse. Horses do not damage the ground as easily as machinery does. Horses can also be used in areas that cannot be reached by machinery because of the rugged terrain.
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