Stone Walls as a Means of Understanding the Different Types of Reindeer Herding: A Study from the Lule Sámi Area on the Norwegian Side of the Border

Oddmund Andersen


Stone walls were previously used in reindeer-herding cultures, within both intensive and extensive reindeer herding. Intensive reindeer herding was characterized by small herds and good control of the animals. The people lived with the reindeer within their pastures. The reindeer were watched in small confined areas, and in specific locations they built stone walls to prevent the reindeer leaving these areas. Later, when a change in extensive pastoralism occurred, characterized by larger herds and less control over the animals, the stone wall was uses to block off larger areas. In some areas, an entire peninsula could be closed by stone walls. People did not stay with their reindeer. Instead, they located their settlements at the edge of the stone walls and watched the reindeer from there. In this way, these ways of using the stone wall document the different ways they could herd reindeer in different time periods.

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