Mysterious bear figurines baffle archaeologists
2012 10 18
By Ditte Svane-Knudsen | ScienceNordic.com
Small bear figurines have led researchers on the trail of hitherto unknown pre-Inuit rituals, indicating that these people practiced a bear cult.
In the 1950s, the now diseased Danish archaeologist Jørgen Meldgaard made a mysterious discovery in northeastern Canada:
A small, headless bear figurine, carved from a walrus tusk, was lying leaning up against the back wall of a stone fireplace in an old settlement. The bear had been positioned in a way that made it look as though it was ‘diving’ into the fireplace.
At the time, this little figurine didn’t cause much of a stir. It was just one out of a long series of discoveries that Meldgaard made during his field trips to the Igloolik region of Arctic Canada and Greenland in the 1950s and 1960s.
But when researchers at the Danish National Museum recently gained access to Meldgaard’s surviving diaries, records and photos, they realised that the discovery of the bear figurine was indeed quite sensational.
Humans and animals were close
Their examination of the material revealed that the small bear figurine could be an important key to understanding how people from more than 1,000 years ago viewed the relationship between animals and humans.
The walrus tusk figurine is only 3.4 cm in length and could be an important key to understanding how people more than 1,000 years ago understood the relationship between humans and bears. The figure is thought to have disappeared now, leaving today’s archaeologists with little more than Jørgen Meldgaard’s sketches and blurry photos. (Photo: The National Museum of Denmark)
”The figurine provides us with information about some previously unknown 1,000-year-old rituals, which suggest that the Pre-Inuit, also known as the Dorset people, imagined that humans were related to certain animals in a way that’s very far from what we would imagine in today’s Western world,” says Ulla Odgaard, a senior researcher at the National Museum.
“Apparently, the Dorset people in Greenland and Canada didn’t see any antagonism between humans and animals,” she adds.
“Humans were not superior to animals; rather, it was a symbiotic co-existence. Bears and other animals functioned as mediators between mankind and the world of spirits.”
The Dorset way of thinking is also known from other early cultures
In other words, the finds reveal a belief in which animals – bears in particular – are our brothers, whose lives blend in with our own.
Read the full article at: sciencenordic.com
ScienceNordic.com is an online magazine with easily digestible science news stories from the Nordic region. You’re welcome to subscribe to our daily newsletter here.
Scientists Finally Conclude Nonhuman Animals Are Conscious Beings
Rare Animal-Shaped Mounds Discovered in Peru
Humans are descended from fish-like animal with a ’sixth sense’
The relationship between humans, gods, and animals; do animals have souls? (Audio)
Latest News from our Front Page
Spraying Chemtrails to ’Reduce Pollution’
2014 03 11
The noxious smog choking Chinese cities is globally notorious, with photos showing the grey darkness that swallows citizens as they try to go about their lives. The thick clouds sometimes turn day to night, and wreak havoc for those with respiratory ailments. Reports of how toxic and damaging the smog is to humans and the environment completes the nightmare scenario, ...
Missing flight: Why are the phantom phones ringing FOUR DAYS after mystery disappearance? (Perhaps not underwater?)
2014 03 11
Many desperate and devastated families of the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight are clinging to hope. For days they have been waiting anxiously for any word from officials about the status or location of the plane and its 239 passengers. Some of the family members have been able to ’connect’ to their missing loved ones via cellphones - the phones ring ...
Has Blackwater been deployed to Ukraine?
2014 03 11
Notorious U.S. mercenaries ’seen on the streets of flashpoint city’ as Russia claims 300 hired guns have arrived in country
Speculation was growing last night that American mercenaries had been deployed to Donetsk after videos emerged of unidentified armed men in the streets of the eastern Ukrainian city.
At least two videos published on YouTube earlier this week show burly, heavily armed ...
Pyramid of the Sun Turning to Dust
2014 03 10
All we are is dust in the wind, so the saying goes, but it’s troubling when it happens to great ancient monuments that we assume will be around forever.
Pyramid of the Sun, Pirámide del Sol, Teotihuacán, México (Wikimedia Commons)
New Scientist reports that the Pyramid of the Sun in Mexico is turning to dust and could collapse:
The Pyramid of the ...
Elephants Never Forget A Voice
2014 03 10
According to a new study, wild elephants are discerning listeners who can differentiate between various human languages, genders, ages, and more. Such surprising skills continue to marvel researchers.
Not all the intellectual surprises are on the large animal front. Research has shown that crows are extremely intelligent, some dogs recognize over a thousand words and have the intellect of a toddler, ...
|More News » |