Bronze Age Facebook
Located, on river crossroads, in important and prominent locations, these rock art landscapes were positioned to be seen by passing travellers, who would add their own marks
Bronze Age Facebook
A Bronze Age version of Facebook has emerged from granite rocks in Russia and northern Sweden. Employing computer modelling, Cambridge University Ph.D. archaeology student Mark Sapwell, analyzed thousands of the rock art images discovered both in Northern Swedish Nämforsen and Western Russian Zalavruga.
Though documented from the early 1900s this rock art, carved from around 4000 B.C. up to Bronze Age times, it shows a huge variety of animals, people, boats, hunting scenes, and even things as unlikely as very early mermaids and centaurs - all art produced by generations of semi nomadic people - living in Winter more inland for hunting elk, and in warmer seasons, for fish, closer to coasts and rivers.
Located, on river crossroads, in important and prominent locations, these rock art landscapes were positioned to be seen by passing travellers, who would add their own marks, so that what we see today is the a culmination of repeated acts of carving over generations, every individual responding to other carvers with their own etchings.
Profusely etched into the granite rocks, images ranged in size from one to two images to panels of rock art holding more than 500, the larger clusters representing more responses and conversations between people of those ancient times. Most popular images of that time - around 4000-3500 B.C. - appeared to be silhouette style elk images, mostly seen among large clusters.
Preference for popular images changed through time, as in the change from elk to boat images, as the apparent centre of interest shifted from land to water, around 2000-1800 B.C., a period in which travel between communities was becoming more important. Unique forms of hybrid imagery - like the man-elk or man-boat - became less popular from around 3500 B.C.
What can be seen in these images is a very interesting dialogue of those times in prehistory when particular themes in everyday life were commented upon, in the fashion of Facebook interaction in this modern day society, topics seemingly falling in and out of favour as times go by.
The enormous natural canvases, bedecked by stories that passing visitors left behind, attracted so much interest because their social network power was well understood by early Bronze Age people, just as Facebook is today, in our age of electronic communication, simply because people have always wanted to feel connected to each other, and these painted messages were expressions of identity for these very early societies, before proper written language came along.