Anthropomorphic Images at the Padjelanta Site, Northern Sweden: Rock Engravings in the Context of Sámi Myth and Ritual
Keywords:Máttaráhkká, rock art, Laponia, shamanism, quarrying, soapstone
The paper discusses three phases of scratched images from the Padjelanta site of Sámi rock art in Laponia, northern Sweden. Pre-dating the middle phase of Viking Age/Medieval period sailing boats is a set of stylised anthopomorphs. These early images resemble certain petroglyphs from Alta, goddess motifs on Sami drums, and the Earth Mother figure in the Manrlajsmyths. Possible ritual contexts for the Padjelanta images are discussed, including autumn reindeer hunting, human burials, and smallscale quarrying for asbestos and soapstone. As a tentative hypothesis, a link between the early anthropomorphs and the Sami goddess Máttaráhkká is proposed.
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