In a couple of days I am off to Istanbul, Turkey, to attend EAA, or more specifically; the 20th Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists.
Together with Ester Oras, Tõnno Jonuks, Martti Veldi and Tiina Äikäs, I am hosting the session “T06S016 Sacred Nature: Site Biographies, Research, Ethics” on Thursday 11 Sep, chairing part of the session. We are really pleased to have a full-day program of interesting lectures with a wide chronological and geographical scope.
I will also be presenting a paper on behalf of Tiina Äikäs and myself, “New users and changing traditions – (re)defining Sami offering sites”. In the paper we explore what factors impact the creation and redefinition of Sami offering sites through time, and how we as archaeologists handle new users and uses when trying to define such sites. See complete abstract below. The full program for the conference can be downloaded here.
Abstract: “New users and changing traditions – (re)defining Sami offering sites”
Tiina Äikäs and Marte Spangen
Thursday 11 Sep 2014, 17.00-17.20
Some Sámi offering sites have been used for over a thousand years. During this time the offering traditions have changed and new people have started using the places. Contemporary archaeological finds give evidence of both continuing traditions and new meanings attached to these sites, as well as to sites that were probably not originally used for rituals in the Sámi ethnic religion. In some cases the authenticty of the place seems to lie in the stories and current beliefs more than in a historical continuity or any specifically sacred aspects of the topography or nature it is situated in. Today´s new users include e.g. local (Sámi) people, tourists, and neo-pagans. This paper discusses what informs these users both about what places are offering sites and about how they should relate to them. What roles do scholarly tradition, heritage tourism, and internal cultural have in (re)defining Sámi offering sites and similarly what roles do “appropriate” rituals have in ascribing meaning to particular places? How do we mediate wishes for multivocality with our professional opinions when it comes to defining sacredness?