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Belonging and Function of Stone Constructions in Karelian Pomorye (Littoral Region)

Journal: Povolzhskaya Arkheologiya (The Volga River Region Archaeology) (Vol.1, No. 3)

Publication Date:

Authors : ; ;

Page : 126-152

Keywords : Karelia; 16th century; stone structures; hearths; basements; menhirs; labyrinths; graves in stone boxes; the Russian Pomors;

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The results of the study of numerous stone structures at 52 points on the White Sea coast and islands in Karelia are presented in the article. Their basic types are described; existing interpretations are discussed. The stone structures of Karelian Pomorye have usually been interpreted as objects of religious cults of the Stone Age, erected by ancient Sami or Karelians. The analysis of natural and cultural context, topography and areal characteristics of these objects shows that the structures are located near Pomor sea fisheries (‘tonya') and refer to the Middle Ages and the Modern time. The purpose of all these objects is connected to the Pomor sea fisheries. On the one hand, this is a result of adaptation of the Pomor population, alien in the White Sea coastal regions, to a specific natural environment on the rocky parts of the coastline and the islands. On the other hand, the objects are part of the Pomor fishing culture, whose formation was stimulated by intense economic and organizational activities of the Solovetsky Monastery. In the 16th to 18th centuries, the latter owned these lands and was engaged in extensive trade in products of sea fisheries with other areas of Muscovy and the Scandinavian countries. Thus, the stone structures in question cannot be connected with the pagan cults of the local population.

Last modified: 2017-06-01 23:48:33