A new field season has arrived, I am back on the road, in Nordland county this time, and the new surveys are already giving significant results; on day two I had to reconcider some presumptions I had made during winter based on the surveys I did last year.
More specifically, I had started to wonder if the circular stone drywalls known from Varanger were indeed a type of structure that was only present in Finnmark and in northern Troms, as previously assumed by for example Ørnulv Vorren. It seemed like all the registrations of (possible) Sámi circular offering sites outside this area were in fact referring to other forms of stone structures.
However, this hypothesis had a serious blow on Monday, when archaeologist Arne Håkon Thomassen from the Sámi Parliament could show me a recently reported stone circle at Åse, Andøya. This stone circle undeniably has a very close recemblance with the stone circles in Varanger, and more specifically the variant found in the Kramvik/Grunnesbukt area.
So far the Åse ring is a lone bird outside the northern area mentioned above, but I still have three days of surveys left in Nordland, so I am curious if any other similar structures will show up. In any case the find shakes my preliminary theories based on the assumed distribution, so I may have to get back to the drawing board and rethink.
It also goes to show that new and potenially important archaeological material is registered all the time, perhaps especially in the vast areas here in the north where only minor parts have been systematically surveyed. Even though it may mean the death of a theory now and again, to me that is part of what makes archaeology exciting.