ON ELKS AND PLACES THAT GATHER Emplacing North Swedish Rock Paintings

Ylva Sjöstrand
123 This paper argues for the importance of empha­ sizing emplacedness in studies of Fennoscandian rock art. Drawing on a discriminating analysis of three red ochre paintings from Neolithic northern Sweden, it is shown that stylistically comparable panels were created and used through divergent practices connected to their respective spatial con­ text. This result raises questions about the episte­ mological legitimacy of conceptualizing rock art sites as instantiations of one coherent phenome­
more » ... non: a problem that is tackled by applying the Berg­ sonian approach towards the relation between dif­ ference and repetition. By putting forward the idea of particularity as constitutive for, rather than op­ posed to, generality, it is argued that the semiotic flexibility of the elk motif can be seen as an reflec­ tion of the force that simultaneously gathers and distinguishes the separate rock art sites across the region of Norrland.