Kirkhellaren Cave On Sanna In Træna Has Been Used As A Gathering Place By Humans For At Least 10,000 Years
One of Norway's oldest gathering spots, this cave has seen "it all."
A cave is located on the island of Sanna in Træna Municipality, which is so far west in the ocean that some people assert that the birds there speak English. The cave may be reached by foot in 10 to 15 minutes from Kirkhellaren's quay. It is a fairly well-known location where, over the course of numerous ice ages, the frost and sea carved out a cathedral in a hillside crevice.
It is 20 meters wide and 32 meters high. The name "nature's cathedral" refers to the central boulder that creates a natural altar. The famous Trænstaven Mountain is also situated on the island of Sanna. It is one of the most noticeable and well-known sailing markings along the Norwegian coast, rising a full 338 meters straight out of the water. It stands out sharply from the strand flats that make up the outer coast of Helgeland and have been smoothed by the elements.
This location has been a gathering site for people for at least 10,000 years, making it a significant gathering spot along the Norwegian coast… Perhaps the oldest gathering place on the Norwegian coast. For example, pottery shards can reveal a tremendous amount of prehistory. The basic material, such as the clay and asbestos minerals used as a binder or thinning agent, and the know-how to turn them into useful items, all originate from another place. This demonstrates that people migrated to and from Træna on a seasonal basis. If there had been clay in the vicinity of Træna it would have been so salty that it would have cracked when burnt. The clay was carried here, most likely from the mainland, therefore this proves that.
Amazingly vast amounts of bone remains, shells, and burned wood have been found at the excavation site where the researchers have been working this summer. This demonstrates that people have been present in this area for a considerable amount of time and did so at least 9,000 years ago. Many of the islands that are now visible were submerged at the time, and the floodplain was located right outside the cave mouth.
Food was readily available outside the cave, which also served as protection because the sea was teeming with seals and fish. It was the ideal location for camping because of this. On Sanna, the presence of seals was crucial. Numerous seal bones have been found throughout the excavations, demonstrating what a valuable resource seals have been. It was crucial to interchange not only the meat but also the fat and, in particular, the skins. The equipment most frequently discovered here is a variety of leather processing scraper, such as flint tools that were used to prepare seal skins. The fish, seal, bird, and shell carcasses were dumped here by the inhabitants of this area thousands of years ago. The researchers have also discovered numerous fire pits, cooking pits, and burnt wood in considerable quantities.
The same thing happened here, can be seen if we contrast these occupants with the Inuit, who traveled all over Greenland on umikas and kayaks. People who lived around the Norwegian shore would travel over quite wide areas in similar boats. People were not settled in the manner that was typical afterwards. They learned new things through paying attention to the resources and the changing of the seasons.
Recently, the surface of the cave was covered with an almost one meter thick layer of sheep excrement since it had recently been an excellent habitat for sheep. Since sheep farming on Sanna was abandoned in 1982, the cave's archaeological treasures have been protected by a coating of feces that is no longer present. Leaching and human visitation are currently responsible for the major effects. Each year, hundreds of people come to Kirkhellaren to attend a concert that takes place during the Traena Festival.
Kirkhellaren Cave is one of the very few sites in the world that have been inhabited continuously for at least 10,000 years. The preserved meal scraps at Kirkhellaren are unusual in that they go back to a very early stage of prehistory. Organic conservation has turned into a pressing concern as a result of our impending future's increasing precipitation and warmer winters.