Event Details

Anna-Kaisa Salmi co-authors article in Journal of Anthropological Archaeology

09 June - 30 September 2015

Arctic Domus team member Dr. Anna-Kaisa Salmi publishes co-authored article entitled "Animal offerings at the Sami offering site of Unna Saiva - Changing religious practices and human-animal relationships" in the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology (Volume 40)

Title: Animal offerings at the Sámi offering site of Unna Saiva – Changing religious practices and human–animal relationships

Link to article


Unna Saiva is a Sámi offering site situated in Gällivare in Northern Sweden. The site was excavated in the early 20th century. It yielded a large number of finds, including objects of silver, pewter and other metals, coins, and animal bones. The metal objects and coins date mainly to the late 10th century and 11th century AD, whereas the animal bone finds date from the 6th to the 17th centuries AD. Zooarchaeological analysis, radiocarbon datings of animal bones and stable isotope analyses conducted in this study reveal new information about religious ritual, religious change, and human–animal relationships among the Sámi. We argue that there was a change in the offering tradition, intertwining with changes in the subsistence economy and especially reindeer domestication. Our results indicate that reindeer domestication, acknowledged to have had a major impact on social organization and economy, was also a major factor in the transformation of Sámi indigenous religion. However, the underlying nature of the offering tradition remained consistent although the focal species of economic and religious interest changed.


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