Reflections on Bronze Age travels
Kalle Sognnes Antiquity 89 (February 2015), 215-216
Johan Ling and Zofia Stos-Gale (Antiquity 2015) present results from a project comparing isotopes from Bronze Age artefacts with signatures from known Bronze Age mining localities. The results showed that artefacts found in southern Sweden were made from bronze mined in Cyprus. This is in itself interesting, but the discovery of rock art engravings in Sweden that resemble ‘oxhide’ bronze ingots from Cyprus adds a new dimension to the interpretation of Scandinavian rock art, with its strong focus on boat images. The number of possible oxhide ingots represented in Swedish rock art is low, but if the identification of these images is correct, we have evidence, for the first time, of direct connections between Scandinavia and the eastern Mediterranean, connections that have been supposed, but not evidenced, for more than a century (e.g. Hansen 1909). Here, I focus on some implications this article may have for future Scandinavian Bronze Age studies, with special emphasis on rock art.