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 to hunter-fisher- gatherers in the circumpolar area. The natural surroundings, activities and ways of living of the hunter-fisher-gatherers would have changed dramatically with the seasons of the year. These changes are represented in the rock art by depictions of ‘seasonal’ or migrating animals, indicating the time of year. The majority of the Stone Age rock art sites would have been accessible throughout the year. Those in the tidal zone and near rapids would have been free of snow during the winter months, while paintings on vertical rock cliffs would have been exposed and even more visible and accessible in winter. Based on comprehensive fieldwork in Fennoscandia, studying rock art sites and their locations, I argue that temporal changes in nature have implications for the documentation and interpretation of the Stone Age rock art and rock art sites of northernmost Europe, as well as Stone Age landscapes and geographical knowledge.