Multi-ethnic Involvement? Production and Use of Soapstone in Northern Norway
Chapter, Peer reviewed
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The northern Norwegian soapstone quarries display small, mainly rectangular extractions possibly for the production of smaller types of artifact or a kind of blank or rough out for various objects. In addition, some soapstone deposits might have been more than simply a source of raw material and can have functioned as landmarks or sieidi, a sacred place worshipped in traditional Sámi religion as a possible gateway to the spirit world. The quarries are located in areas with primarily Sámi or mixed Sámi and Norse settlements in the late Iron Age and early Medieval period, indicating a multi-ethnic influence. This raises questions relating both to the chronological framework and to the economic and sociocultural background of soapstone utilization in northern Norway.