Mesolithic shadow play? Exploring the performative attributes of a zoomorphic wild reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) antler artefact from Finland

Katri Lassila, Marja Ahola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Throughout history, humans have told stories to one another. Although these stories have largely disappeared over the course of time, they have sometimes left material remains, for instance in the form of rock art. However, rock art might not be the only materialization of prehistoric storytelling practices. On the contrary, if made active again, other prehistoric artefacts might also bring past storytelling practices back to life. In this paper, we examine how storytelling might have taken place in Late Mesolithic Finland (c. 6800–5200 cal BC). As a case study, we investigate a zoomorphic wild reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) antler artefact from southern Finland, the so-called ‘Lepaa artefact’, with multidisciplinary methods arising from the traditions of experimental archaeology, 3D-technologies, and artistic research. As a result, we suggest that Mesolithic storytelling might have been entangled with ritual practices and accompanied by performances that resemble traditional shadow theatre.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWORLD ARCHAEOLOGY
Publication statusSubmitted - 27 Oct 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Mesolithic archaeology
  • 3D-technologies
  • artistic research
  • ritual performance
  • mobile art
  • storytelling
  • Shadow theatre
  • photography
  • media art
  • multimedia

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