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Skammelen

 

(THE FOOTSTOOL) - A SACRIFICIAL SITE (?) DATING BACK TO THE EARLY IRON AGE (500 BC -550 AD)

A STONE ALTAR
Here at Haugen, there is an unusual stone structure that has been interpreted as a prehistoric sacrificial site. The local people call it Skammelen (the Footstool) or Alteret (the Altar). There is some disagreement about the function and age of the Altar, but place names and other finds in the area seem to indicate that this was a sacrificial site in the Iron Age.

 

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"THE ROSSLAND GOD"
The stone head of the "Rossland god" and the two large rectangular stone vessels are copies. The original stone head was allegedly found in the scree below the stone altar in the 18th Century. The head is 61cm high and roughly hewn out of local laboradorite. One of the stone vessels was found in the same place. The other vessel comes from the neighbouring farm. Both vessels have basin-like depressions, which are indicative of cult use.

ROSSLAND - CENTRE FOR A FERTILITY CULT?
It is difficult to say with certainty whether the stone altar at Rossland was linked with a fertility cult, but the head and vessels are strong indications. If the vessels are prehistoric, it is natural to Interpret them as sacrificial vessels. Horse sacrifice was part of the Frey cult. According to Icelandic historian Snorre Sturlason, the blood of the horses was collected in sacrificial blood basins and used to stain the altar. A libation was then drunk to Froy for a good harvest and peace. Other relics and place names testify that there was a centre for a fertility cult at Rossland in the Early Iron Age. The name Rossland may derive from the Old Norwegian word for horse: hross.
In Norway all cultural relics dating back to before the Reformation (i.e. pre-1537) are protected by law.

 


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last updated:  20.07.2007