Evidence for Animal Sacrifices in Front of the Rock Painting of Kotojärvi, Southeastern Finland
Antti Lahelma [+]
University of Helsinki
In 2011, an underwater excavation took place in front of the rock painting site of Kotojärvi in south-east Finland. The excavation, arranged by the author, yielded well-preserved unburnt bones belonging to elk and various bird species, dating to the Early Metal Period, between ca. 1800 cal. BC and ca. 700 cal. BC. They are believed to be broadly contemporary with the rock paintings, and are therefore likely to relate to ritual activities carried out at the site. Indeed, the animal species and body parts found include fragments of elk skulls and the bones of diving birds, which reflect the cosmological ideas of ancient Finno-Ugric and circumpolar peoples. The excavation is discussed in detail in this chapter. It has, in spite of technical difficulties and the issue of modern site disturbance, shone new light on the nature and dating of the Kotojärvi finds, which remain unique in Northern Europe.