Mysterious bear figurines baffle archaeologists
2012-10-18 0:00

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


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)
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 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.





Related Articles
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)
Animal Mummies


Latest News from our Front Page

Sweden may be at war "in a few years" - top brass in leaked document
2016-02-13 5:24
In a few years Sweden may be engaged in a war with a “qualified opponent” after two centuries of peace, a senior Swedish commander has told soldiers in an internal brochure. The alarming message was reportedly sent by Major General Anders Brännström, the Army chief, in a brochure distributed among the participants of a major annual event that is to open ...
Danish imam urges govt to accept child marriages among refugees
2016-02-13 4:57
A high-profile imam has urged the Danish government to accept child brides, as the practice is part of the culture of many refugees arriving in the country. It follows an announcement by Denmark that such couples will be separated under Danish law. Imam Oussama El-Saadi, of the Aarhus mosque in Denmark, said that child brides should be looked at from a ...
White Parents in Virginia Shutdown White Guilt Video!
2016-02-13 4:56
You see folks? This is what happens when you stop blaming the Joo, and you get the fuck off your favorite bitch corner and start taking action! This is what happens when parents start parenting again! What? You’re gonna brainwash our kids with your filth and lies? We don’t think so. How would you like an empty school with no ...
Hungarian Top Economist: Civil War is Coming to Europe
2016-02-13 2:36
Zsolt Bayer, Hungarian journalist, publicist, and co-founder of Hungary's currently ruling political party, and Dr. László Bogár, former politician and leading economist, discuss the Cologne sexual assualts committed by migrants on New Year's Eve, 2016. This short part of the 60-minute long television program that aired on Echo TV on January 8, 2016, is of a rant by Mr. Bogár warning ...
British scientists granted permission to genetically modify human embryos
2016-02-12 23:48
The Francis Crick institute will genetically edit the leftover embryos from from IVF clinics British scientists have been granted permission to genetically modify human embryos by the fertility regulator. The scientists want to deactivate genes in leftover embryos from IVF clinics to see if it hinders development. It will only be the second time in the world that such a procedure has ...
More News »