CULTURE > Prehistory

Prehistory

Around 9000 years ago, the ice sheets that covered the Scandinavian mountains had melted away completely. Man arrived early to the area that we today call Vindelfjällen. The Atlantic coast was probably populated, and when virgin soil was uncovered by the retreating ice sheets and the climate allowed it, Man began to exploit the mountains. Hunters and fishermen quickly discovered new possibilities and new natural resources.

 

At Rasteklippan in Lake Tärnasjö, archaeologists have found arrowheads, refuse and a hearth that have been dated to 8000 years before present. Prehistoric settlements have also been found at the edge of the mountains. Perhaps these were villages that were used in winter, while their inhabitants waited for summer to arrive in the mountains.

 

During the Iron Age, Sámi culture became more evident. Among the earliest remains that have been found and linked to the Sámi people are the remnants of so-called ‘Stalo dwellings’. These could be the remains from the Norwegian coastal Sámi people, who used the mountains on a seasonal basis, or from Swedes who hunted wild reindeer. Sámi legends tell of the Stalo as a nomadic people who disturbed the Sámi people, which suggests that they were outsiders. However, Sámi bone caches and hearths have been found in or beside the Stalo dwellings.

 

Very old written sources use the term ‘Fenni’ or ‘Skridfinnar’ for a people who lived from hunting and fishing in the north, on the ‘Island of Scandzia’. The north Norwegian magnate Ottar, in 892 AD, informed the English King Alfred that the Sámi people paid tax in the form of reindeer hides, bird down and seal pelts.

 

For perhaps 250 generations, people have left behind careful traces in the land around Vindelådalen, Lake Tjulträsk, Överst Juktan and Lake Tärnasjö. Let us continue to look after Vindelfjällen with care.