Browsing by Subject "Rock art"

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  • Rainio, Riitta; Lahelma, Antti; Äikäs, Tiina; Lassfolk, Kai; Okkonen, Jari (2017)
    In northern Finland, near the canyon lakes of Julma-Ölkky, Somerjärvi and Rotkojärvi, steep rock cliffs produce distinctive acoustic spaces. On these cliffs, prehistoric rock paintings (5200 to 1000 BC) as well as an ancient Sámi offering site (circa 1100 to present) can be found. Ethnographic sources describe that the Sámi used to sing and listen to echoes while making offerings there. This article presents the results of an archaeoacoustic research project that seeks to explore the role of sound in the development and use of these archaeological sites. The innovative set of methods includes multichannel impulse response recording, angle-of-arrival estimation of early reflections, spectrum analysis, digital image processing and 3D laser scanning. On the basis of the analyses, it is concluded that the cliffs that have been painted or held as sacred are efficient sound reflectors. They create discrete echoes and, accordingly, phantom sound sources. Especially at the Värikallio cliff near Lake Somerjärvi, the sound appears to emanate directly from the painted figures. These results, together with previously unnoticed drumming figures in the Värikallio painting, provide a clue to the significance of the sound rituals at these sacred sites.
  • Rainio, Riitta; Lahelma, Antti; Äikäs, Tiina; Lassfolk, Kai; Okkonen, Jari (The OTS Foundation, 2014)
    In Northern Finland, by the rock painting of Värikallio (ca. 3000–500 BC), several echoes can be heard. The most remarkable of these appear to be originating from the painted rock itself. The article presents the first results of the research project that seeks to explore the role of sound in the development and use of Finnish rock art and Sámi offering sites. Field recordings, made at the site of Värikallio in summer 2013, are analyzed with a sound analysis and visualization toolkit, and interpreted with the help of GIS data and a 3D model of the site. A probable depiction of a drummer, identified in the painting in the course of the fieldwork, provides a further clue to the significance of sound rituals at rock paintings.
  • Lahelma, Antti (2019)
    A wide range of rock art sites associated with hunter-gatherer populations in Northern Fennoscandia depict scenes where men, women and animals (usually elk or deer) are involved in a sexually charged act. For instance, at Namforsen (Sweden) and Kanozero (north-western Russia), elks appear to be 'monitoring' a human couple having sex. Ithyphallic figures accompanied by animals are found at several sites, such as Kanozero, where an ithyphallic figure brandishing an elk-headed staff is faced by a capercaillie. Even acts of zoophilia, or humans in sexual congress with animals, appear to be depicted at a number of sites. These scenes are here approached in the light of an animistic ontology and the notion of perspectivism, introduced by Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, where non-human beings are entangled in social and thus also sexual relations with humans. In the ethnographic sources pertaining to northern circumpolar cultures, hunting is perceived as a sexual act, where each kill involves seducing the prey. In northern and eastern parts of Finland and Karelia, this mentality persisted well into the historical period, as evidenced by hunting spells and ceremonies recorded in the 19th Century.