Friday, May 13, 2011

Saami Reindeer Funnel Trapping System

Saami Sacred Stones in Karelia (Link)

The Saami people of Norway, nomadic reindeer hunters until three hundred years ago, were known to have constructed fence lines and used natural obstacles to funnel reindeer into traps.  Moreover, the Saami took advantage of known migratory paths of the reindeer to anticipate their arrival.  It is that these systems were used used prior to and during the Viking period and well into the Middle Ages.  The reindeer spoils, including the meat, skin, and antlers were of significant economic and social importance.  Oddly enough, the Saami have a tradition of stone markers, similar to the Inukshuk.  These stone marker "creatures" may have assisted in guiding the reindeer down the trapping systems.  However, a sense of the practical significance of these statues for hunting seems to have been lost.

In any case, like other ungulate hunters, the Saami prospered due to their ability to design, cooperate and deploy a mass hunting system.

Further Reading:

Ancient wild reindeer pitfall trapping systems as indicators for former migration patters and habitat use in the Dovre region, southern Norway, Per Jordhoy
Hunting and Gathering by the Saami, Jonathan Snatic
Saami Sacred Stones in Karelia, heninen.net

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