Daily Life in Renaissance Italy
The rock art found in the World Cultural Heritage site of the Alta area, Norway, comprises thousands of images including vast panels depicting many animals including reindeer and elk as well as fish, birds, boats, humans and geometric patterns. Their discovery, study and interpretation has led to renewed interest in Sami prehistory. They provide much information about the people who lived in this northern area from about 5000 BC up until the birth of Christ; about their social organisation, hunting and trapping, beliefs, rituals, stories, legends, myths and culture, changes, continuity and history.Communicating with the world of beings addresses an understanding of the rock art in terms of communication with other people and with the "other-than-human beings ". The figures were seen and experienced by people other than those who created them, as symbols in rituals or as expressions of identity, position, power and rights, as depictions of real event and perhaps for use in storytelling. Through rock art, its creators were also able to communication with 'other-than-human beings' who determined events in the environment - in order to petition favours for themselves or others. These 'other-than-human beings' may have been spirits; of the underworld; the dead or souls; which also included the animals depicted, or even embodied, in the stone. This communication may have been based on a belief that both living beings and inert objects and natural phenomena had souls, a belief that may have existed ever since the earliest settlement. Such an animistic belief means that everything was seen as having a consciousness and identity of its own, independent and imbued with a will. Therefore, it was essential that the different participants communicated with one another as equal partners.In this beautifully illustrated book Knut Helskog provides a lyrical and personal interpretation of the chronology, patterning and possible meanings behind this extraordinary landscape of prehistoric rock art.
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