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Tradition and transformation in Sámi animal-offering practices

  • Anna-Kaisa Salmi (a1), Tiina Äikäs (a1), Marte Spangen (a2), Markus Fjellström (a3) and Inga-Maria Mulk (a4)...
Abstract

Archaeological evidence for ritual animal offerings is key to understanding the formation and evolution of indigenous Sámi identity in Northern Fennoscandia from the Iron Age to the seventeenth century AD. An examination of such evidence can illuminate how major changes, such as the shift from hunting to reindeer pastoralism, colonialism by emerging state powers and Christianisation, were mediated by the Sámi at the local level. To explore the chronology of, and local variations in, Sámi animal-offering tradition, we provide a synthesis of archaeozoological data and radiocarbon dates from 17 offering sites across Norway, Sweden and Finland. Analysis reveals new patterns in the history of Sámi religious ritual and the expression of Sámi identity.

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*Author for correspondence (Email: anna-kaisa.salmi@oulu.fi)
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