27 April 2006

Rock Art and Salmon Rivers?

Just reading a great little book about rock art on the NW coast of canada where they have cup marked boulders, cups and rings, and spirit figure carvings. Interestingly the carved rocks are linked with the seasonal salmon runs along the coast, where they enter river systems and at salmon fishing and spawning sites further in land. It made me wonder about the Yorkshire rock art located on the hills overlooking rivers like the Wharfe, Nidd, Washburn and Esk, which all were/are salmon + trout rivers. Are there any rivers in other areas that could be added to this list?

11 comments:

george said...

Where do want to start Graeme ? Nearly everwhere in Perthshire where there is RA there is a River or Loch nearby . What is odd though is where the there is a good river e.g. the Tay and all the usual RA associations but no RA .One exception at least is Kilmartin where the burn doesn't really qualify as much of a food supply.

wolfy said...

Depends what the river or loch was used for i suppose?..

Fitz said...

Hi Graeme
I reckon you can stick all the rivers on the east coast on your list from at least the Humber to the top of Scotland. I have a feeling that all rivers, in Northern Britain at least, that empty out into the sea would have had salmon running up them.

GraemeC said...

True enough,
I was really fishing (groan)for a reason why rock art sites might overlook river valleys, and it seems likely that salmon and trout were an important food supply way back then.
Apparently even small becks and Burns are used by sea trout for spawning, the final destination for their annual migration up the rivers. + Large runs of salmon heading up river, leaping and splashing could have been a spectacular sight in prehistory. Neolithic fishing rights/rites any one?

Was it Morris who said the majority of rock art sites in Scotland were within xKm of the sea?

rockrich said...

Could one of the reasons be they just needed to be near a definite source of water? If the temperature was a few oCs above todays, could that mean that drought was more likely. They knew which rivers were likely to dry up, or not have much in the way of water, so they just lived & carved nearest the definite sources.

A rather boring theory, which I don’t believe for a minute.

wolfy said...

True nearly all sites in D&G are within a few km's from the sea. Though i still think mining is the major factor in D&G rock art.

george said...

It is often suggested that Aberfeldy is the centre of Scotland ,pretty difficult calculation ,do you include Rockall etc? But if so it is as far from the sea as you can get ,it is also surrounded by lots of RA .Oddly enough there are also leadmines in the area and traces of gold in some of the burns but I don't buy the RA - mining connection.

george said...

I should have also mentioned that Jean Mcmann repeats the myth about RA- by-the -sea ,in her "Riddles of the Stone Age".

wolfy said...

"Riddles of the Stone Age".

i picked up a copy for a couple of quid in a charity shop..nice book.

On the mining point, i feel it is important, then again is could just be a coincidence, but its as valid a reason as any..

wolfy said...

Just reading one of my Morris reports, made in 1989...again he talks about the various regions and areas within the uk, and how the rock art probably has different meanings in each case, but he does make a good point for mining being a reason in D&G, i think we should always look at what we can say is true or correct, then look at other reasons, we can for definate say as Morris does, that rock art in D&G appears in a 70km area of coast line, and only a few km inland, but the point he does link and is correct, is that this is the exact area where copper ore is found..this fact is true, whether it is the correct link or not is something to think about, but atleast it is something we can be sure of..

brian.

george said...

I think the obvious point about D&G is it's coastal and ornate . I was going to make the point, facetiously , that RA is sometimes found near power lines , pylons, phone masts etc .I wish I had as I found the most extreme example yet on Saturday ,10m from a sub station .