Treading on Ancient Ground

On our recent family vacation we decided to go back to the basics.  The kids and I went exploring.  We’d been told there were some ancient Sami (indigenous people of the arctic region) writings in the vicinity of the cabin.  “Ancient”, as in over 6,000 years old.  Of course we had to embark on an expedition.

My five year old son lead the way, running ahead of us, towards the beautiful rock formations on the hill side.

ancient sami writings, norway

And it didn’t take him long to find the writings and “read” them.  “Mommy, look!  A reindeer and a man!” (The reindeer’s a bit difficult to see – on the left-hand side of the photo.)

sami rock carvings, finnmark, norway

sami writings, finnmark, norway


I was just as excited as the kids, as we searched the ancient stone walls, looking for new drawings.  “Here’s one!” my daughter shouted, and we all ran to study the latest discovery.

ancient sami runic writings, finnmark, norway

We weren’t sure about this one – whether it had been a large painting that had been worn down throughout the years, or if it was the natural color of the rock.  Any ideas?

And of course we had to make our own sami writings – shadow drawings – a ferocious bear and a soaring eagle:

I tried to imagine what it must have been like to live there 6,000 years ago, or even a century ago.  A beautiful, but harsh setting, where each day was focussed on survival – gathering enough food and wood to endure the harsh arctic winters.  A time before motorized vehicles, where the main modes of transportation were boat and foot.

Treading on ancient ground, I envisioned the historian who took time to make these illustrations, unknowingly telling a tale to folk 6,000 years later.

12 thoughts on “Treading on Ancient Ground

  1. How exciting! I’m sure this adventure has made a deep impression on the kids. It’s amazing what can be discovered when we take time to see beyond the surface of everyday experience.

  2. These are very nice shots and lovely pictographs (as we call them in North America). Do you know how these have been dated? Directly from the pigments on the rock, or by association with nearby sites or Sami art on dated objects, or??

    1. Thanks for leaving a comment and reminding me of the correct word. Since I’ve been living in Norway for over 10 years, my vocabulary has suffered a bit. Thanks for jogging my memory. I don’t know how these have been dated. I tried to find info on the web. The closest I came was a site about pictographs in an area in the same region, called Alta. They were dated from 10,000 bc to 2,000 bc. If you’re interested I can send you a copy of the link.

      1. Hi, I was not meaning to correct your terminology since different words are used in different regions. Thanks for the information on Alta – that was enough for me to find lots of things to read!

    1. Thank you. Yes, it was fascinating and really got all of our imaginations going.. thinking of all the different people that have lived there throughout the centuries. Glad you enjoyed the post.

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