My fieldwork this year mainly consists of control registrations of as many circular offering sites and other stone circles as possible. As my stay in Finnmark is coming to an end (I move on to Troms county next week), I have surveyed 27 circular stone structures, measuring and describing them, and pinning them down with the GPS. In addition I have surveyed related structures on the sites, such as fireplaces, graves and house grounds.
I am very pleased with the results so far, it is absolutely worthwhile to get out and see what is actually here. I get a better understanding of the areas, the landscape and the information given in previous registrations. I have also found structures that, as far as I know, have not been registered before.
There is obviously an abundance of stone structures in this massive county (larger than the whole of Denmark!) that I have not had time to visit – this time. I hope to be back next year to do further investigations.
I have also spoken to a range people who have contributed with ideas and practical information, which I appreciate very much. In addition, this blog has already put me in contact with at least one person who had additional information about possible offering sites of interest in Nordland county, which I plan to visit next spring.
Among the most interesting and intriguing sites so far is the area by Kramvik/Grunnesbukt, south of Vardø, where there are 8-9 circular/enclosed offering sites within an area of a couple of square kilometres. These have partly been published before by Ørnulv Vorren and Hans Kristian Eriksen in their book “Samiske offerplasser i Varanger” (1993).
These sites are roughly situated between the mountain Falkefloget (“the Falcon Cliff”) and a cave assumed to be the Sámi offering site Finnkirka (“church of the Sámi”), mentioned in a 1680s source (cf. Vorren and Eriksen 1993:161ff). In the same area there have been registered traces of settlements both from the Stone Age and later times, as well as Sámi scree graves. The latter was investigated by Audhild Schanche and published in her doctoral thesis “Graver i ur og berg” (2000). The graves produced a very wide range of datings, and seem to stem from a period of at least 1500 years from the Early Iron Age to the Middle Ages.
Whether the stone circles are related to the graves is another question, although the association with hunting facilities and/or graves is a prevailing theory. It also seems rather peculiar that the source of the 1680s should mention a non-conspicuous cave as an offering site, but not the very easily spotted stone circles close by. The quest for answers continue…