They thought rock-carvings were agriculture pictures. In fact there are few of the kind however we find enough images of ploughs to decide that they were brought from Egypt, Crete and Greece. Inland agriculture was not a big issue until 19th century. It was easier to keep cattle and cultivate only for private needs.
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It seems like a contradiction when Norwegians them agriculture carvings, although I have not found more than one arder or plough in my Norwegian material. In Sweden it is not much better and I have only six arders/ ploughs and the real farming picture from Finntorp Bohuslaen. They are all from Bohuslaen except one from Vaestmanland.
Nevertheless agriculture becomes common in Southern Scandinavia and we see many other signs of agriculture.
If we use the widest interpreting, they aimed all activities of man in the early society towards nature. Hunting, fishing, gathering, keeping animals and so on are all reaping the generosity of nature. But man has to know that there are limits how much nature can reproduce without decrease in fertility. Grass may be harvested only if perennials are used or if the reap is after the running to seed. Then the animals have to be able to melt dry matter, but with less value as food. Developing of modern animals and methods has been a long process with no end it seems.
In inland growing breadstuffs were not common before the nineteenth century. Of course some tribes or families may have been specialising since Iron Age while others used other vegetables or bought from others. Then there were for instance the Finns as burn-beaters with a very long tradition in that technique.
The appearance of cereals in Germany during Bronze Age counted about twenty species and at least ten species of fruits. Growing corn, wheat or barley in an extended scale needed if not horsepower then draught-animals. Some scientists believe that the Sumerians mainly grew corn for the sake of beer. However, we know that there were many other methods to get drunk by mead made of different fermenting fruits and honey.
We see there were many possibilities to make a ritual of fertility. Not for the ritual itself, but to remember what to be done every spring. Urban people that believe milk come from a factory cannot imagine what practical fertility are. When and how to prepare the soil and water or shade if needed and of course keep animals, humans and other plants away.
The Egyptian pickaxe was surely the model for the arder, which only carved in the soil. They invented the plough more than a thousand years later.
We may suggest that man generally try to picture exactly like the original. The same is intention when following ritual and descriptions how work should be done. It is as The Sumerians tell that they followed the first-time-principle ad eternity. They followed the gamblers' rule not to abandon winning rules. Usually the descriptions are followed a good time after a failure. In inland most of the pollen analysis show that in a place growing crops have succeeded only for a period. The cause may be that the soil has been too meagre or that they have forgotten important moments alternatively lack of seed after one or more bad years.
Ploughs from Egypt, Crete and Beotia
If they imported tools and the myth we may expect they followed them as exactly as they were able to.
For instance if we see carvings of arders they are surely pictured to show the original even if the used may differ in form. This one is from Aspeberget Bohuslaen and mirrored to make it easy to compare with the
Egyptian one from a grave painting.
Further we may compare it with an Egyptian arder of our time.
The Egyptian has a stick in his hand and the same is case in the L Baltzer's version from Aspeberget. Some early Roman folklorists asked a Celtic farmer which gods they had in farming. The Celt had a twinkle in his eye and a fox behind his ear and answered in earthy Celtic words Mac Quill, Mac Grane and Mac Cecht, and meant the hazel stick, the sun and the horse
... The Celtic myths are still living and change with generations and are hard to find any reasonable pattern in. I suppose they are talking to our subconscious. Probably it is also the birth of mystic when we do not understand the words and imagine a lot.
In the Roman's case he was surely an Urban with less knowledge about farming, but wanted to learn some trick to tell about at home. The sciences of today have found that the Roman methods in farming maybe caused a decline in the outfall. They forced the conquered to use Roman methods also in agriculture, but it did not fit the German climate.
This is the Sumerian sowing machine.
They furnished the arder with a pipe and dropped the seed into the soil. It is perhaps from this we have a cryptic line in a poem "to see through a pipe and see the face of Underworld". A typical Sumerian arder had two handles as it was on the horse-drawn ploughs in my youth.
These two arders from Finntorp look like a crook with a handle. Maybe they sometimes made them of a natural crooked piece of wood.
The arder from Crete and the Etrurian arder were much alike. We can maybe date this type to 1200 to 1000 BC. The next arders are from 1000 BC and onwards.
The arder with a sole was perhaps the first step towards the plough. This one is from Kville Bohuslaen.
This one is from an unknown locality in Norway.
The arder from Litsleby Bohuslaen and it is probably the most used scene and he has a driving stick and a sowing bag.
The picture shows also the Sumerian principle about three locks of earth. The surface must be broken ... the wet soil must be reached ... the soil must be loosed up. We see that the middle furrow ends in a bigger cupmark, which marks the wet underground. In old Nordic is an old saying Three furrows in Thor, which also means the month for ploughing. The modern agriculture is more sophisticated and they normally plough in autumn.
In this section from Haeljesta Vaestmanland we see the arder with sole and a hand showing the astro period. There are also the marriage and the guarding Archer.
The arder with sole we may find in Tanagra Beotia Greece the province north of Attica. The custom was to give this kind of figurine as an offer in grave.
Customs in spring
An English girl should sit astraddle
on a gate towards the new moon and hail:
All hail to the moon! All hail to thee!
I prithee, good moon, declare to me
this night who my husband shall be!
Naturally the spring moon gave the surest answer. Most girls have difficulties when deciding whom it shall be. I remember many girls who night after night asked the cards whom is the one or other things. For me it has always been almost impossible to decide because I love all kind of the opposite sex.
The normal sibylline question
That kind of question was a good income for the seeress in ancient temples and has been in all cultures. However, the new moon was likely to be a symbol for the rising sap. In my youth using old folk sayings was taboo and one should always laugh at them as foolish talk. It is much alike when young men believe they know better than older people. The new science believed in their only methods and would never listen to old experience. That is in Scandinavia, but in China they still use many old methods. They will stand even when the electricity goes so to speak.
Now we may speak about the faces of the moon and perhaps see that all livings are in the face of the moon. However we cannot always trust all sayings, but here the issue is to establish that our ancestors planned their activities after the faces of the moon. We know too little about their reasons to decide if they were right or not and our own knowledge about the dynamic of the moon could be better.
New moons saturates the earth
Plutharch said,"The new moons have a wet, fertilising light which influences the growing herbs and fertility of animals".
Plinius said,"It saturates the earth. When it approaches, the bodies are filled and when it removes they are drained".
Here it is a question about the correspondence between reality and the describing structure. Probably it is like magnetism that in a dimension outside normal sensitivity all livings react on the movements of the moon, which we may physically see as the tide.
But as always man is never satisfied and wants to see more in a rule than there is. Maybe another factor has neutralised the general rule and disbelieving follows and looking for some modification is easy also. And many rules have no influence at all, but ongoing life has giant force ... Look at a dandelion coming through the asphalt.
Much of the so-called magic was more like therapy to overcome the anxiety "How will the outcome be?" This is also an everlasting question, although the vocabulary and the magic doings vary in time.
Most of the ritual carvings are about spring as it is the time when man looks forward and plans for the growing season. Myths and manifestos are aimed to store and keep in mind how to do otherwise they could forget it during the long winter. The growing season is only about three months and there is of course twelve months between each sowing.
The church took the monopoly in rituals and it is odd that we in Scandinavia use rituals made for the Middle East. For the diversity of profane feasts and days we have only to look at local calendars all over Europe. At Luxor Egypt they have still since more than 5000 years their Abu al Haggag feast although perhaps not a month feast as it was in old Egypt. However, much of it is fading away in a rate with growth of urbanisation. I call him Urban and he is not at all interested in wild copulating gnus and mossy stonies it must be a fragmented fast beat in rhythm and in pictures. The art should be kitsch and art for art's sake.
L Baltzer made the next documentation of a corner of Aspeberget Bohuslaen. We see the girls probably making a fire known as Beltaine among Celts. Most of these doings had a practical use too. On the recent enlarging we see that the cowboys are helping. We know it from Middle Age that not only burn beaten land and growing fields were prepared but also the pastureland. Last years grass, leaves and fallen twigs were burnt. The ashes spread and so the faeces after the animals too.
Moor caused by over grazing meagre land with goats was perhaps burnt down with intervals as still is done in Norway in coastal rocky areas. Many pastoral landscapes were surely kept open not only for domesticated animals but also for other grass eaters.
The Sumerian Inanna invented shading trees and maybe they aimed them also to feed the goats.
We see it on seals the composition with two goats eating leaves from a tree. The early-domesticated animals could melt much more dry matter than today. Thus they loped the trees regularly and used it as winter food until the modern feeding and breed altered the animals.
The growing fields were depending on fertiliser otherwise they could harvest a field only a few years before the soil become too meagre to culture. The returns from the early seed were only a few times the seed so it was a risky business.
Animals were not kept in houses until the Iron Age so they got no fertiliser in stores. One solution was to make new land but it was hard work. In inland the growing of corn was only for own use until the nineteenth century as here on Dal. Thus talk about agriculture in the eras before is not in phases with reality. However, many vegetables were surely grown from the time man got the idea of cultivating land.
My foster-father was a very busy man, but once in spring he took the time around first of May. He showed me some Stone Age axes he had found and some flint bits too. Then he said, "The first fire you make in spring should be done as flint-fire the old fashion way". Then he tried but he had to little practice and was soon on his way again. For a few moments I saw behind that taciturn man his reverence and roots in the very past.
Naturally my goat-eye became more wandering than usual when working in fields after that. It paid as I once found a fine flint chisel to his collection.
Girls and boys playing with fire? A thirsty little one suck a deer.
Farmers of the old stock grow up from the soil and from their ancestors. They had a deep respect for elderly people in everyday life. The horses were his pride and were the first he hailed and nursed in morning and the last he made a bed to in evening. On a normal farm was a natural split of the jobs and farmers' wife was one of two.
I sensed from the old Law of Vestgautland and old folk tales that she was Mother Earth and perhaps originally the women in that province owned the land. On Dal when they let the small animals out first time in spring they should go out between her legs as if she were Mother House or gave birth to them. They let them out to "another world".
Back to the picture we may recognise that only one cow has a tail and we may ask why? One small cow is on a ship and maybe they shipped the young animals to some island in the archipelago for the summer.
The snake is Water-snake symbolising the womb of earth. Archer is shooting the ritual shot and the ploughing man uses an Egyptian arder.
Many ants wandered on my baldhead before I found a solution to this picture. L Baltzer had not got it right but a recent documentation give this picture. The dog in stern tells about a period until the dog, which is Ramadan in autumn. We see a deer with sucking fawns. Still today when we want to set something out of the normal world we make the gesture with twice two fingers.
Thus I see this as "Hunting sucking deer is forbidden" and that is the oldest known Hunting game law.
Fantasising boys maybe believe that "primitive" hunters take their bow and go for a deer. In reality man is consuming from nature which is normally existing in a zero balance. Populations of different kind increase in number according to how much food is available and in Northern areas up to climates. Man had to learn to take just as much as nature can bear.
On the other hand every being needs a varying fare to get all needed elements. Then it is a matter of rationality to harvest everything at the right time. Big animals are fat in autumn as they store for the winter. Meat may be dried, salted and perhaps smoked. Part of the trade with Halstatt has surely been salt from the salt-mines. The salt traders saw the opportunity to even sell bronzes and other stuff as we see in our finds. In our rock-carvings we see the special "trademark", i.e. the sword chape Halstatt style.
On the other hand all beings seem to have beloved relation to the youngsters. That counts also for humankind ... except Norwegians hunting baby-seals for the European Jet-set.
Predators hunting instinct is launched when something runs. If the small one stand still or make moves that is understood as invitation to play for fun they forget the hunting. When asking an animal for friendship is the best signal just an invitation to have fun. That invitation is specific for every kind.
Modern Egyptologists use the word heretic about pharaoh Echnaton and he is of course the forehead of his movement. The Amun-priest in their land of eternity in West surely agrees. Most facts speak for a power struggle between the pharaoh and Thebe and other temple cities. However, they blame him like all other historical persons that are against the main stream, but with no real success in the end. There are of course exceptions like Alexander the Great with his 13 years, but still an idol for the militarists.
We may read some of Echnaton's thoughts because we have his hymns to the sun. They are of the everlasting kind and modern technologists would have a lot to learn if they stepped down from their satellite perspective. If they knew anything about biological life, they would see that the Egyptians knew what they needed in practical biology.
Remains of his period can give us a picture of his personality. He was of course not alone and as always, important persons have a great staff and cannot do anything without much supporting "legs". During his seventeen years of reign he or his helpers builds several temples to Aton, the sun god. He builds also a whole new city Amarne that has given the name to the period. It has left much of correspondence and acts that have sat ants in the hair of many in our time.
Nevertheless the style of the Amarne is totally free an opposite to the formalism before and after. Indirectly it says that Echnaton was tired of being a formal pharaoh tied by many duties and rituals. About the same time a Hittite priest king wrote about the hard world, difficult to please and no one to trust. The Amarna period becomes more humanlike and free.
In the tomb of Tutankamun are illustrations when he fights a lion by holding its tail. That is symbols for his role as highest military commander. Another scene shows him beating the enemies of Egypt and he holds a prisoner by a grasp in the hair. This is a direct living copy since the palette of Narmer 3000 BC.
As ever there were surely many other factors in his decisions as a need for the pharaohs to fight the Amun temples that had grown to a power factor in Egypt. Theoretically he was of course right that the sun is a visible direct cause of fertility compared to the mysticism around the invisible "hidden one" Amun. However, as there were many temples and many gods in Egypt not a priest would like the monotheism.
Ordinary people would surely not interfere because they had their own house gods and customs and the Nile, the reign and the temples kept the order of years. The Amun-priests won because there was no follower of the same kind. We know too little about the intrigues in making the next pharaoh ... but it gives the Egyptologists plenty of space for speculations and discussion. Somewhere in that there is perhaps some truth about the life between pharaohs and priests. However none tell about ordinary Egyptians.
Still the idea of monotheism was outspoken and many cultures developed towards a main god that included most aspects of an idol for the society. This was in fact the idea of a single king since myths and deities were role models of society. A special development was that of the Jews. They took the impressions from monotheism in Egypt and mixed them with what they had learnt from Sumer-Babylonian culture. Patriarchy developed from this even the small group of a family in which the male made the canonical rules.
Originally the Sumerians had a patriarch or herd as male symbol. They called him "The faithful Herd of Heaven" and it was surely a starry constellation. No scientists believe in their early list of kings because the kings had very long reigns. Nevertheless, we have to remember they were not talking about real kings but heavenly kings. At that time the people were only legs of gods.
I think we have to show them some piety and try to understand that they meant they had these idols for a very long time. In fact we may count about 50000 years back and someone would say that is impossible. However, if they know about precession it was no match to keep in mind very old events tied to the movements of the zodiac, i.e. animal round. So the Jews were not the first to have a patriarch as their spiritual father.
The carriage from Trundholm Zealand is one of a few magnificent ritual specimens found. The horses of another are found at Helsingborg, Skaane. They were not common but tell us that some folk lands had the wealth and trading connections to get such things. Naturally we may assume that it was used in some ritual and that they got some myths as instructions when thy bought it.
They have covered one side with gold-leaf and it was maybe the sunny side while the other was the moon, but all that is speculation. The pattern associate to time as well as to the carriage seen on carvings as symbol of time.
The legs of the horse are slightly pointing forward. That shape is seen on several carvings in Southern Sweden as the Sagaholm mound Smaaland, Klinta stone Auland, Kivik grave Skaane. That shows it seems to have been an area with culture in common. The Sagaholm mound may have been ritual astro-place originally. When they made the mound, they buried the time understood that they began to use another star constellation as lead.
The border between cult and custom is flowing. Solution of the patterns for the ritual life is depending on the simple fact that the number of populations decides most of it. There is a big difference between people living in countryside following ongoing life and fertility and on the other hand urban people.
In cities they build temples. Priest and other official make themselves indispensable when they refine the rituals. The messages have to be of the kind that people buy it and are willing to give offers. Alternatively the temples have to go into business themselves.
Especially Denmark is excavated almost to its limit because the landscape is as made for agriculture. It is only moors, bugs and areas covered by sandstorm that still may contain remains. On the other hand cultural remains are supposed to be big and visible. For getting cultural items of Bronze Age we have to visit the Danish Nationalmuseum in Copenhagen on InternetGuder og Grave.
From the Bronze Age are many burial-mounds left, but they seem to have been done under a short period. We will never know if they made them for priest, leaders or traders ore in some cases as symbolic graves. Those speaking about chiefs and their territory have no evidence.
Feudal system in our vocabulary is different from the divided society of Ionian type, which they concentrated to cities and their surroundings with feeding peasants. It is also different from what we know about Saxon feudal nobility, because Scandinavia has always been short of population to feed the nobility. The feudal hierarchy was only within the nobility, while peasant's live after Peasants' Law. Questions about armed or political power can only be imagination and speculation during Bronze Age.
The real agenda have been to get food and to ritualise the year and that we may say a lot about. From the Roman time we know a lot about the nobility. Then we may draw the conclusions backward in some questions and suppose it has been the same in Bronze Age. We know that gold and ritual weapons had only ritual value for Celts as well as for Northern people. The gods were role models for the people and they were created after the needs in the small settlements.
We know that their highest god was a trader since the Romans set up altars to Mercurius Rex from the North. Germans in the old sense had the god of Thing as the highest god in society mars Thingsus. In the Edda it is Tyr without the sword arm telling about a peaceful society and we see him in some rock-carvings too. The third main god was Thor, the farmer and leader of ritual. The nobility of Viking Age made him a warrior, but that is not his origin.
However it seems to be a custom to make the most out of the graves in a society with richness of rituals and cultural merchandises and arms. We may suggest that at least some of the burial-mounds were made for the nobility. However it seems that the nobility were priests and law-readers. For a long period the custom changed overall to cremation. But when the trade with the Romans began burial becomes a new fashion. The nobility began to use burials as for instance the Hoby burial ca 50 AD with gifts from the Romans at Rhine.
Luxurious bronzes are found mainly in Southern Scandinavia, surely because the population was big enough to generate the capital needed for trade and also the demand for products. Most of the Bronze Age shows ritual accessories and status symbols. In the Ritual Age broad collars and belt fittings for the female priestess are among the finds. The depot find from Stockhult consists of three collars and 35 belt fittings for perhaps girls as the suite of the stand-in-goddess.
They call the collar lunula or gorget in the Celtic area and it symbolises the field. It was for Sumerians as important as the collar that day officers wear in the army I remember. Among cattlemen they surely called her Fielding and she was an Artemis type seen on razors as the big girl followed by a pair with horns. Cattle were the issue and the growing was the ritual and only for the household. Forgetting that since early Middle Age in Southern Scandinavia they have grown crops mostly for export is easy. That was to afford import of luxuries. We do not know about the export in Bronze Age, but we know that the Romans needed meat, corn, fish, fur and so on from the northern Eriles.
The dagger in the slab cists is still a ritual symbol and might as well have been for the priestess as it was later until a small knife in women substituted it in the dress. We have to remember that at least for the women of noblesse the priestess was an idol to follow also in dressing.
Priests and priestesses in charge
There is no clear border between a priestess and a woman in charge in a settlement. We know from the women's graves in Denmark likeEgtved and Skrydstrup that the nobility shows skilfulness and artfulness to make very fine dresses. The men's' dresses are not so costly. We do not know if it is a special burial dress, an everyday dress or was it the best dress up they could show.
However other accessories show that the craft was at a high level and they imported folding chairs for leaders of the same kind as seen in Tutankamuns grave. We also see them in some relief from the Aegean culture and overall the chair was in symbolism for the leaders. Tutankamum had a boomerang wrapped in birch-bark and surely a gift from a Northern culture.
But, we cannot generalise and say people had chairs at home. As always the 5 - 10% nobility is the top of the iceberg and some take after but mostly folks live a natural life without unnecessary odds and ends. To make the mounds they have needed a working force however our day's people are not used to manual labour and see the works of mounds as almost impossible.
Of course the "legs" had to go many times with turf or bags with soil. But we can assume there was no hurry and they were guaranteed food for the day. Most of the bigger mounds and establishments are locally a one-time-job, which then was used for perhaps hundreds of years.
The balta and lures are clearly ritual symbols for the male collective and the sword became a status symbol for the wealthy man ... our "big man" carry attaché case. Some carvings at Norrkauping show that it may have been a ritual symbol too.
The status ages follow the change from "ritual lead" to "worldly lead". Humanising the gods varies with urbanisation and growth of population and started in Babylon before 2000 BC. In our rock carvings we see many of the figures with bird-head during whole the Bronze Age. Perhaps they wanted to show what is the god and what is the human: That is an indication that the ritual was still important. The traders and the nobility wanted to show their wealth and it was like marketing their import at home.
Snorre Sturlasson tells a lot about the Icelandic society and what he knew about Norway and what he had heard about the rest of Scandinavia. To make his facts common for the entire Scandinavia is easy when it is the only written evidence.
On Iceland everyone was king and was still in my youth. He tells that a folk land was fifty probably adults and all his numbers are of the small scale. In early laws a parish was ten families and then we have some proportions. Without facts or remains like the slab cists we cannot speak about organised larger areas. We may assume that small folk lands occupied suitable landscape and these could differ in organisation and customs up to their origin and way of living.
Ancient conventions and laws
Overall there were conventions how to visit each other or to travel through landscapes. Much of the settlement was in coastal areas or near rivers or lakes. Travelling by boat was the easiest way especially if they had merchandises as cargo. The Ionian system lead to a system of fellowship so that the trader was in company with other traders and had places to visit when travelling. From the Northern wilderness we know that the marketplace was special law space or as an island in the common land.
The Fraenarp carvings seem to have been a ritual place where they at first have ritually worked on the carving for many years and stayed for carving seven moons. Calling it symbols of a sun carriage is wrong and moon carriage is nearer, but in fact it is the time carriage. Observe the English word "carriage" of CARRY and AGE, which tells about our ancestors view of travelling as well as of time.
Empires and kingdoms had not the same exact chronology as we have when we use a general atomic time. Mostly they kept books of the reign of the pharaoh, priest-king or king. In temples and places where they used astronomy they surely kept track of the long time. Unfortunately the House of Life was destroyed and with that their library.
Nevertheless, they could relate time to the precession or movement of spring equinoxes. We know of the Roman adjustment of two months in the calendar, which tells us that they had not followed the precession movements at all.
From the tomb of Sethos I ca 1300 BC we have this picture and it is confirmed that Ramesses IV in year 1159 made an adjustment of leading stars to the spring equinox in Aries and the others were a Pillar or Cancer, Libra and Arcturus and Aquila.
The Pillar is better known as Cancer in Latin, which comes from the word "hand", but also known as turtle and crayfish in different cultures. We see the Pillar in Dendera and also in later Greece and on it is usually a bird supposed to be the Horus falcon that means "time" in plain English. It can also mean that the season or "time" of the year began in that constellation observed in a certain manner. The Amun feathers on the bird (owl) were original palm leaves that were used for counting years and showing beginning of inundation.