The Search for a Past: The Prehistory of the Indigenous Saami in Northern Coastal Sweden
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Medieval Period page


Image Gallery

Viking Period labyrinth

1 : Labyrinth
2: Compass Rose
3: Russian Oven
5: Bjuröklubb Harbor

6: Lichen Growth Rate

Medieval and Historic Times

Labyrinths, compass roses,"Russian ovens", chapels and fishing harbors are found at numerous locations in Lövånger. By means of lichen chronology, rock weathering rates and elevations above sea level, it was possible to date many of these features. The labyrinths date from as early as AD 1300 but were especially common in the 16th century, the height of the herring fisheries. These ancient symbols represent both fishing superstition and Christian belief in the pilgrimage. The stonecompass roses are also medieval and perhaps had practical uses for fisherman without compasses of their own. The Russian Ovens were radiocarbon dated to between AD 1400 - 1700 and were probably baking ovens. Small harbors were established at a number places on Bjuröklubb but had to be abandoned when shore levels changed.


Medieval Period statue of St. Olav standing on a troll, representing Christian victory over paganism
St. Olav standing on a troll representing Christian victory over paganism.

aerial photo of Bjuroklubb peninsula


Aerial photo of Bjuröklubb peninsula. The rocky areas shown in Olaus Magnus' illustration from 1555 (above).

The old fishing harbor at Bjuröklubb and rocks were herring were dried. [highlighted in green]

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