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Documents Flashcards Grammar checker. Archaeological and Ethnographic advertisement. A list of figures represented in Finnish rock paintings A catalogue of Finnish rock painting sites known in When I began studying archaeology inthe Finnish rock paintings seemed too unsophisticated and simple to be of any great interest.
I was planning to concentrate on Ancient Mesoamerica, the Minoan civilization or something similar – regions and cultures that were socially more complex and, it seemed to me, had a completely different kind of character and appeal than the hunter-gatherers of the Boreal zone.
Although trained as a high school arts teacher, he admits that he, too, had at first failed to concentrate and had felt a little disappointed with the rock paintings. Little by little, however, he became more and more captivated by their mystery.
The same has happened to me, and I hope that this dissertation can convey – in addition to the theories and factual information – something of the deep fascination I have felt in my encounters with the paintings.
Although it is easy at first to dismiss rock art as an incomprehensible and unexciting thing of the past, I suspect that anyone who makes the effort to understand it will be rewarded, because hunter-gatherer rock art carries messages that are universal in the fullest sense of the word.
It reflects the thoughts and worldview of an era – the hunter-gatherer Stone Age – that was of fundamental significance to human evolution and which, therefore, is still today reflected in the behaviour, dreams and desires of all human beings.
These messages often appear incomprehensible, but they can nonetheless have a deep emotional impact, because they show us a glimpse of the world in which our species developed but which has now almost completely disappeared.
This book is dedicated to my wife, Margit Granberg, who has somehow endured my obsession with rock art during the past three years, accompanied me on field trips and excavations, and helped me to relax and shrug off my frustrations and bad moods resulting from too much work. I am also deeply grateful to my parents, Timo and Marjo-Riitta Lahelma, who have never seriously disputed my questionable career choice and have offered me financial security in times koskj need.
I have also had the good fortune of sharing the company of a group of talented resarchers and post-graduate students at the Institute of Archaeology in Helsinki.
I reserve special thanks to Vesa-Pekka Herva, on whose help I have always been able to count, and who has read and commented on almost all parts of this work at manuscript stage. I also thank Tuovi Laire, the office secretary, divintion her patience and efficiency in arranging most of the practical matters relating to my graduate and post-graduate studies in archaeology. In addition to the people of the Institute of Archaeology in Helsinki, I owe thanks to many researchers and staff affiliated with other institutions.
These include at least Kari A. Outside Finland, I feel grateful to a number of colleagues similarly bitten by the rock art bug: I give them my wnd for initiating me into this fascinating discipline.
I feel grateful also to the staff of the Finnish National Board of Antiquities Museovirasto dleusion, who have always been of very helpful and friendly to me. I also thank once more the people who made it possible for me to arrange the Valkeisaari excavations, the topic of Paper III in this dissertation: The most important source of funding was a generous three-year grant awarded by the Finnish Cultural Foundation Suomen kulttuurirahasto in A Touch of Red List of Papers This thesis is formed by an introductory essay and five peer-reviewed papers.
In the introduction, anr papers are referred to according to their Roman numerals. Paper I Lahelma, A. Norwegian Archaeological Review 38 1 Paper II Lahelma, A. Cognition and Signification in Northern Landscapes. Paper IV Lahelma, A. Politics, Ethnography and Prehistory: Paper V Lahelma, A. Norwegian Archaeological Review 40 2dwlusion A Touch of Red Abstract Approximately prehistoric rock paintings have been found in the modern territory of Kooski. The paintings were done with red ochre and are almost without exception located on steep lakeshore cliffs associated with ancient water divinatuon.
Using shore displacement chronology, the art has been dated to ca. The range of motifs is rather limited, consisting mainly of schematic depictions of stickfigure humans, elks, boats, handprints and geometric signs.
Few paintings include any evidence of narrative scenes, making their delusipn a rather difficult task. Some writers have also suggested totemistic and shamanistic readings of the art. This dissertation is a critical review of the interpretations offered of Finnish rock art and an exploration of the potentials of archaeological and chrjs research in increasing our knowledge of its meaning. The art can be confidently associated with shamanism of the kind still practiced by the Saami of Northern Fennoscandia kodki the historical period.
Evidence of similar shamanistic practices, concepts and cosmology are also found in traditional Finnish-Karelian epic poetry. As demonstrated by the results of an excavation at the rock painting of Valkeisaari, the painted cliffs themselves find a close parallel in the Saami cult of the sieidi, or sacred cliffs and boulders worshipped as expressing a supernatural power.
However, the paintings were not merely to be looked at. A Touch of Red 1 Introduction 1.
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Stone Age archaeological research in Finland has often been content to study the material and economic aspects of prehistoric cultures, but rock paintings invite a different kind of response. Even if they are often faint, seemingly monotonous and — from a purely aesthetic point of view — rather clumsily painted, this humble delusoin offers a unique window into the spiritual life of hunter-gatherer societies in Stone Age Finland.
This essay was written as a general introduction to my PhD dissertation on the interpretation of ,oski rock paintings. The art itself deluion little in terms of narrative scenes and as such offers only vague clues concerning the intended meanings. Their relationship is a matter of historical and social convention. A well-known example involves the images of fish in Early Christian art, which refer to the Christian faith, not to the scaly aquatic vertebrates.
The question I am interested in is, therefore, what do the images of the rock art signify?
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Indeed, there is much delysion indicate that things are not as simple as once thought. For example, in nature elk do not have two heads or antlers that are almost as big as the animal, but in the rock paintings they occasionally do. In the rock paintings, humans are never shown hunting the elk, but occasionally they are shown unrealistically riding the animal like a horse. A few images appear positively surreal. Who painted the cliff and why? What happened here thousands of years ago?
Prehistoric reasons may have been entirely chria cf. To be a little more specific, I approach these wider questions through a detailed examination of a series of questions of a more limited scope, such as the following: Is the location an interpretative element?
A Touch of Red : Archaeological and Ethnographic
This work is the first systematic exploration of the potentials of both archaeology and ethnography in interpreting the meaning of Finnish rock art. Most earlier attempts to interpret this art see chapter 3. They have, moreover, made only limited use of actual archaeological methods in studying the art, and have by and large ignored the rich, local ethnographic sources in its interpretation.
It has been argued Conkeyand cf. This work is a Finnish contribution to this international discussion. Although concentrated on the Finnish material with some references to neighbouring areas, especially in Papers IV and Vto my mind, the results bear a wider relevance to the study of North European hunter-gatherer rock art and — I hope — the archaeology of the region in general. This dissertation makes use of all three.
A Touch of Red 11 Introduction 1. Such information is only rarely available, and its validity is sometimes contested. The informed approach to rock art interpretation has thus been variously received in different parts of the world in different decades. In the same way, in the s Native American ethFigure 2. Used by the early interpreters Reinach ; Breuilethnography was later rejected by the structuralists e.
In this study, I argue that although the pre-Christian Saami and Finnish religious traditions never explicitly mention rock art, some sources available to us are highly relevant to understanding its meaning.
This dissertation includes some readings of ethnographic accounts that, in my opinion, make the informed approach to Finnish rock art valid. The approach is not altogether new. Although the early interpreters of Finnish rock art tended to rely on ahistorical theories of hunting magic, the use of local mainly Saami ethnography in interpretations of Finnish rock was already pioneered in the s by Ville Luho ; and, to a lesser extent, by Jussi-Pekka Taavitsainen ; My approach thus represents a somewhat similar return to ethnographic sources that has occurred, for example, in North American rock art research.
These rely on the information that is inherent in the images, associated finds and the location of the sites. The importance of formal methods generally increases the further back in prehistory we go. Although the model is not emphasised in most of the papers, it forms an important, independent line of argument that supports several of the conclusions presented in this introductory essay. A short review of the model is therefore warranted. In the past two decades, many archaeologists have sought support for their interpretations of rock art in neuropsychological research for reviews of this research, see, e.
The three stages of trance as they might be As presented by David Lewis-Williams and perceived by a Westerner according to Lewis-Williams Thomas Dowson in their article titled We experience the world in a fundamentally similar way, and even our dreams and hallucinations are similar. The visions and sensations experienced by a 21st century European in trance are fundamentally similar to those experienced by the rock painters years ago.
This visual imagery is, according to Lewis-Williams and Dowson However, perhaps more importantly from the point of view of this work, Chippindale et al.
This includes sensations of metamorphosis, weightlessness, breathlessness and out-of-body experiences, which, in a state of deep trance, are typically interpreted as flying through the air, diving under water or dying.
Like the visual hallucinations experienced in a trance, such experiences may have inspired some of the imagery of shamanistic rock art — including the apparent depictions of metamorphosis and subaquatic travel that I find central to the interpretation of Finnish rock art. The neuropsychological model has attracted much discussion in rock art research. Although embraced by many scholars, the model has not won universal acceptance for critical views, A Touch of Red 13 Introduction see, e.
In spite of the controversy surrounding the model, it has arguably brought a certain sense of direction to Stone Age rock art research. In the words of Whitley Conversely, the identification of hallucinatory imagery in rock art does not reveal its meaning, only its origin.
As David Whitley Put another way, ethnography provides a series of competing hypotheses that can be evaluated for any empirical case. And, while there is no reason to assume that every prehistoric example will necessarily conform to the origin and meaning of the ethnographic cases, a starting place for analysis is the assumption that a prehistoric case chriz be reasonably close to the known range of variation in the ethnography.