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
Stop creating a climate of fear!
2014 08 27
ok. listen up political correct people! if you’re someone who reflexively calls others “racists” or “neofascists” without first checking into whether or not they actually are, you need to STOP it, because you’re creating a climate of fear in which people are afraid to do their jobs.
and now i’m not talking about some academics sitting comfortably in their ivy towers, ...
Gov. Jerry Brown to Mexican Illegals: ’You’re All Welcome in California’
2014 08 27
On Monday evening, California Governor Jerry Brown said all Mexicans, including illegal immigrants, are welcome in California.
According to the Los Angeles Times, while introducing Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, who said America is "the other Mexico," Brown "spoke about the interwoven histories of Mexico and California." He "nodded to the immigrants in the room, saying it didn’t matter if ...
Election Posters in New Sweden
2014 08 27
Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has promised continued mass immigration at the expense of welfare reform and tax cuts. Reinfeldt’s Moderates party consequently does everything in their power to recruit immigrants’ votes. Placards for the forthcoming elections, widely distributed in immigrant-dominated enclaves in Sweden, has Arabic text, the language that now increasingly is dominating major parts of "New Sweden."
In the ...
2014 08 27
Gender Madness - RT
RT: "Tanya, a mathematician from Sweden, is writing a blog about gender madness. She wants to find its origins. She discusses the topic with different people, meets some gender specialists and even considers conducting some experiments."
Yes, this is a very erratic and "different" short film, but Kajsa Bergkvist, the girl making the film has a ...
Could Greece’s mystery tomb lie intact? Well-preserved headless sphinxes
2014 08 27
Well-preserved headless sphinxes hint that grave dating back to Alexander the Great
Archaeologists are hopeful that an ancient mound in northern Greece could hold the untouched remains of an important senior official from the time of Alexander the Great.
Excavations at the ‘incredibly important’ tomb have revealed a pair of sphinxes guarding the grave’s entrance.
The two sculptures were found under an arch ...
|More News » |