Snowscapes of Rock Art: Seasons and Seasonality of Stone Age Rock Art in Northernmost Europe
Jan Magne Gjerde [+]
Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research
Natural temporal changes in the landscape were of vital importance for hunter-fisher-gatherers in the circumpolar area. The natural surroundings, the activities and way of living of the hunter-fisher-gatherers would change dramatically with the seasons of the year. These changes are represented in the rock art by depictions of “seasonal” or migrating animals indicating time of year. The majority of Stone Age rock art sites would have been accessible throughout the year. Those in the tidal zone and near rapids would be free of snow during the winter months, while the paintings on vertical rock cliffs would be exposed and even more visible and accessible in winter. Based on comprehensive fieldwork in Fennoscandia studying rock art sites and their location, I furthermore argue that temporal changes in nature have implications for the documentation and interpretation of rock art and rock art sites, landscapes and geographical knowledge during the Stone Age of northernmost Europe.