The Nordic Bronze Age civilisation 1800-500 B.C.
- second in Europe only to Mycenae (Greece)?
In 2005, the Nordic state television companies have co-produced and broadcasted a documentary (three episodes, each one hour), called "Stenristerna" - or 'Helleristerne' - the stone carvers.
The content of the thorough documentaries is intriguing. The stone carvings along the coast line between Copenhagen-Gothenburg-Oslo + Bergen and Trondheim have for centuries ... been unintelligible. This concerns the southern carvings from 2000-500 B.C.
The northern carvings in Fennoscandinavia (North Finland and -Norway, north of the map shown above) from the period 6000-2000 B.C. are more easily interpreted as those of hunter and gatherer peoples. As opposed to the northern carvings , the southern carvings (in Denmark, Sweden and Norway) include multifarious categories of elements that show close contact to the Atlantic facade of Europe and the inner Mediterranean.Reinterpretation indicates not only that the bronze age technology in Scandinavia was second in Europe only to Mycenae i Greece, but also that contact was particularly strong between Scandinavia and the eastern Mediterranean areas and with Greece, in particular, in addition to India, Africa, Egypt, Phoenicia, and Italy. (the later Vikings also had contact with all these culture including India). When seen as an ideographic language (like Chinese and Egyptian hieroglyphs) the carvings tell stories of humans and Gods, of technology and travels.
'Recently' researchers started to compare the carvings and housing technology, ship and sail technology, chariots, burial techniques, armament, art and jewellery etc, - with other cultures and found amazing and very close similarities:E.g. between Bohuslän (north of Gothenburg) and Ulster (Ireland); between Fyn (Danish island) and the Villa Nova culture in the Italian Alps; between Bergen (western Norway) and Spain; between Trondheim (middle Norway) and Egypt. There are close similarities to images (wall paintings, pottery etc) in Egypt and Northern Africa, but above all the similarities are between Scandinavia and Mycenae (90 km NW of Athens). The mythology and Gods seem similar. The Phoenician god Baal could well be the Nordic god Balder.
The Swedish archaeologist Sven Nilsson suggested 100 years ago that Scandinavia was a Phoenician trading outpost. He was never taken seriously. This may be supported by the "fact" that this culture appeared suddenly, similarly disappeared suddenly, and accordingly the following civilisation was less advanced. (I wonder how the archaeologists can be so sure of this 'fact' of sudden appearance and disappearance, some 3-4000 years ago - and what is "suddenly".)The other possibility is that Scandinavians went south, as Jordanes claims in his The Origin and Deeds of the Goths .This also fits nicely with genetic indications of a southward movement and Felice Vinci's articles "Homer in the Baltic", and Synesthesia and Homer's world , namely that the story of Homer's Illiaden actually took place in the Nordic countries (the geography described does not fit the Mediterranean but fits like a glove with the Nordic waters).
Whichever way the contact went, the most important trading item of the north seem to have been fur and above all amber, used as necklaces also by Egyptian pharaohs.The Greeks claimed to come "from the north" - the Dorians first arrived in Greece around 1100 BC.Many Nordic rock carvings are older, but most correspond with that period as for instance those in the Oslofjord.
A new and unknown characteristic is that the 1074 carvings south-west of Oslo at Skien, looked Celtic.They are around 2500 to 3100 years old and were found by the local history association, Skien Historielag and the local association for ancient memorials Gymir. There are photos and movies in this article:9000 years BC: Trade between western Norway and the Baltic
Archaeological preparations due to construction of a gas link to the UK from western Norway has again revealed old settlements, this time 11.000 years old at Aukra (between Bergen and Trondheim). 320.000 items have been found, again with amber suggesting contact with the Baltic. The archaeologists argue that the people came from Northern Germany and Denmark. www.dagbladet.no/magasinet/2004/08/11/405197.html
There are now 3 known major areas of rock carvings between Copenhagen and Oslo:Tanum (north of Gothenburg)Sarpsborg- Skjeberg (just north of the Swedish/Norwegian border)Skien (across the Oslofjord from Sarpsborg)In addition there are many other finds in southern Scandinavia, but these are e.g. items, like bronze weapons, jewelery, and many huge stone coffins of an even older date - possibly from non-Indo-European peoples soon after the last ice age (8-10.000 years ago.
See e.g. www.raa.se/sites/kivik.asp
The map below shows the Nordic Bronze Age finds.
Some links:Bronze Age:
Did Greek and Norse mythology originate with the Vedas?
This would be quite in line with the recent re-interpretations of the Scandinavian stone carvings, e.g. showing a sun-chariot being pulled over the sky. Remember too that later Viking decorations cam from India, see the Oseberg ship and the Myklebostad found in Buddhist styles.
Nordic newspaper articles
- on recent finds :
- on the Nordic Bronze Age:
The Norse (700 A.D. to ca. 1100 A.D.)
Phoenicia (1500-500 B.C.)
George Rawlinson's History of Phoenicia (1889)
Mycenae (1600-468 B.C.)