There is always more to see and more to do in archaeology, but in a project with deadlines and limited funding, the fieldwork part has to come to an end sometime. For this project it ended last week after a one and a half week tour of Varanger and of 31 sites of various kinds, some new and some familiar. Some were localities I did not have time to see when I was last here in 2012, while some were stone structures I chose to revisit to double check the information I had recorded before, especially concerning the areas and other cultural monuments around the structures themselves.
In addition I visited some monuments that have been interpreted as traps, meat caches and falcon catching sites, to compare the features of these with the circular offering sites I study. In the search for alternative explanations, these functions have been some of the possibilities I have explored. Now it remains to evaluate the data more systematically before drawing any conclusions.
Honna Havas, museum leader of the East Sámi Museum in Neiden, joined me for the survey of an alleged trap structure in Munkefjord.
As I have hinted at in previous posts, there is quite a lot of variation within the category labelled “Sámi circular offering sites”. One particularly interesting feature in some structures is that they are not really circular at all; rather they have an angular inner shape, usually forming a pentagon or hexagon. Hence, one main objective this year was to take aerial photos with a photo pole in order to document the frequency of this particular feature in various structures.
Photos were taken with a telescope photo pole, rented from arkeologiutstyr.no. Photo: H. Havas.
The photos will be processed in a photogrammetry program, which automatically pieces them together to give an overview, and which can also produce 3D models showing heights and the sloping of the terrain, etc. This is an incredibly timesaving and accurate practical and analytical tool that can replace old-fashioned drawing and measuring.
A lot of people have been involved this year too, both in the actual fieldwork and helping me out with housing, transport, information, technical equipment and more, which I really appreciate. And, of course, good company makes the fieldwork and travelling all the more enjoyable, so a big thank you to Honna, Turid, Nils, Mia, Paul, Synnøve, Tom and Are, and all the rest of you!
Paul Smuk helped locate and investigate a structure I had not previously seen by Biekkanoaivi, Nesseby. A few finds of wood and iron pieces are possibly remains from quite recent use of the structure for storing hay.