WORLD HERITAGE LIST:
A TENTATIVE LIST SUBMISSION
STATE PARTY: Norway
DATE OF SUBMISSION:
SUBMISSION PREPARED BY:
Name: The Sámi Parliament in Norway E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: N-9730 Kárášjohka/Karasjok
Fax: (+47) 784 74 090 Telephone: (+47) 784 74 000
NAME OF PROPERTY:
VÁRJJAT SIIDA: 12 000 YEARS OF INDIGENOUS ARCTIC HERITAGE STATE, PROVINCE OR REGION:
LATITUDE AND LONGITUDE, OR UTM COORDINATES
The serial nomination includes four sites on the Varanger Peninsula and the land bridge connecting the peninsula to the mainland, with no 1, Ceavccageađgi/Mortensnes, as the core site. The sites identified as having universal value are:
1. Ceavccageađgi/Mortensnes (Sámi/Norwegian name translated: Fish Oil Stone/Morten’s
Headland): A settlement site that has been continuously occupied for 12 000 years and an adjoining burial place used from 1000 BC to 1600 AD. Located in Unjárgga gielda/Nesseby municipality, 70°7’40’’N/29°1’24’’E.
2. Noidiidčearru/Kjøpmannskjølen (The Shamans´ Rock Field/the Merchant´s Ridge): A wild reindeer hunting site, including two interconnected corrals with several drive lines, meat caches and bow hunt hides. Located in Båtsfjord municipality, 70°24’28’’N/30°0’25’’E.
3. Gollevárre (The Gold Mountain): Pitfall system for wild reindeer hunting and autumn hunt settlement site. Located in Deanu gielda/Tana municipality, 70°7’19’’N/28° 14’46’’E.
4. Ruovdenjunlovta/Gropbakkengen (The Iron Point Cove/The Pit Hill Field): Site of 89 pit houses from 4500 B.C. Located in Unjárgga gielda/Nesseby municipality, 70°9’33’’N/ 28°34’49’’E. Cultural heritage in Varanger is rich and deep. The four sites of this serial nomination have been selected because they stand out with respect to their uniqueness in terms of density of monuments, their state of preservation and visibility, their variation and chronological depth, while at the same time being representative of the Varanger heritage as a whole. Each of them exhibits spectacular examples of prehistoric and Sámi habitation, hunting and religion. All the sites lie within the borders of Várjjat Siida, the old territorial unit of the Varanger Sámi. The main component of Sámi social organisation was − and to some extent still remains − the siida. The term denotes the social organisation of one or more family units and the territory which these collectively use. Economic activities including hunting, fishing, whaling and berry picking were organised at the siida level.
Above: Varanger Peninsula with the four interrelated sites. Below: location in Eurasia.
The Varanger Peninsula is delimited by the Varanger fjord to the south, the Tana fjord and river to the west and the Barents Sea to the north and east. It is situated far north of the Arctic Circle, and the 10°C isotherm in July, commonly used to define the Arctic region, runs south of the peninsula. It mainly consists of upland plateaus, and large parts of the higher areas are dominated by block fields that lack vegetation. Close to the shore, the terrain is characterised by sediments and post Ice Age beach line formations. The climatic conditions, with low temperatures and a limited amount of precipitation, result in the area’s sparse accumulation of plant debris and limited amount of mountain birch woodlands.
The slow degradation rate and thin layer of soil on the Varanger Peninsula have ensured that the minor alterations of the ground surface that took place during prehistoric periods are still visible today. These remnants include structures such as fireplaces, tent rings, house grounds, and bow rests, as well as burials and sacrificial sites. Both religious and technical manifestations in the landscape made active use of structures shaped by nature, thereby merging the cultural and the natural. Furthermore, the dry Arctic climate also results in good preservation of organic materials, and the oldest kitchen middens registered in the area are dated back to around 7500 BP.
Source: Norwegian Polar Institute. The red arrow indicates the Varanger Peninsula.
5 Despite its Arctic location, the Varanger area saw the end of the last Ice Age long before most parts of Scandinavia. The melting of the ice worked on the surface of the land and also removed an enormous weight from it. This caused the process of land up-lift that endured throughout the postglacial period and which gave shape to the present terraced coastal landscape characterised by fossil beaches at different elevations.
Ever since the first hunters and fishers arrived on this coast more than 12 000 years ago, these terraces have attracted human settlement. Soon people also began hunting and gathering in the interior, thus starting to use the entire territory of what later became the Varjjat siida. This barren land has preserved the traces of these pioneers as well as those of later hunters and herders more persistently and faithfully than elsewhere, leaving us with an exceptional Arctic heritage of sites and monuments for which this submission seeks to ensure the rightful universal status.
The last Ice Age ended approximately 10 000 years ago after lasting for about 60 000 years. The Fennoscandian ice sheet retreated early from the Varanger area, and 12 000 years ago the entire Varanger Peninsula was deglaciated. The red arrow indicates the peninsula.
Fossil beach at Ceavccageađgi. Along the beach ridge are house grounds dated to 4600 BC. Sacred mountain in the background. Photo: Varanger Sámi Museum.
6 A unique feature of Várjjat Siida is the way natural processes and human activities are interwoven and made conspicuously manifest in the landscape, providing an exemplary showcase of the dynamics of this crucial interaction in the High North. Moreover, being a land that holds a deep memory, it gives even the most distant past a remarkable presence and thereby presents an unrivalled display of 12 000 years of indigenous Arctic heritage.
Contrary to what one may think in view of latitude and climate, Varanger is an area of natural abundance. It is a contact zone for natural environments and resource groups that elsewhere are found at a great distance from each other, making a variety of resources available within a limited area. The remarkable sustainability of the hunting and fishing culture and the rich cultural heritage it left behind must partly be attributed to these natural circumstances. The Varanger fjord is historically Norway´s richest in fish and sea mammals. Due to the Gulf Stream, it is ice free during the winter. It is the only Norwegian fjord opening to the east, to the rich spawning grounds of the Barents Sea. It is visited by migratory species and constitutes a spawning ground for certain species such as migratory cod. The Varanger region is also one of the Arctic areas richest in birdlife. It is directly in the path of birds migrating from east to west, and the advantageous biotopes combined with the rich resources of the adjacent ocean attract a myriad of species and great numbers of birds.
As for terrestrial resources, the Varanger Peninsula is an ideal grazing land for reindeer. It is a meeting place for plant species from the High Arctic and Eastern Siberia as well as more southerly species. In addition to the rich pastures of grasses and herbs, the snow patches, naked rock, block fields and windy shores offer the reindeer refuge from heat and troublesome insects.
Furthermore, before national borders divided the land there were no barriers to the land of today´s Russia and Finland. This made rich winter grazing lands accessible for the reindeer herds and opened for cultural and economic exchange to the south and east.
7 This heritage is an important indigenous heritage to which the native Sámi population is closely connected, both directly and as the likely descendants of the earliest hunters and fishers. Moreover, as archaeological studies have revealed, Varanger holds a unique position in the cultural history of the Sámi. Socio-cultural processes and developments that took place here appear to have been decisive for the formation of a number of Sámi cultural features that later were more widely adopted and thus became defining for Sámi culture and ethnicity at large. This includes religious and ritual manifestations such as burial customs and technology, including the use of large corrals for wild reindeer hunting. This method later became indispensable also to Sámi reindeer herders and may even have played a role in the transition from hunting to herding.
The Sámi culture is very much alive in the area today, especially in the Unjarga-Nesseby municipality where the majority of the population speak Sámi as first language. After wild reindeer roamed the area for
thousands of years, the Varanger herd of domesticated reindeer have
continued to graze here since the 16-17th century. Furthermore, the Sámi coastal fishery has been upheld, and together with small-scale farming, mostly sheep, it is an important element in the local economy. Small game hunting, fishing in rivers and lakes as well as gathering berries and firewood have never ceased to be valuable for the household economy and are highly treasured activities for the local population.
Fishing boats in Unjarga/Nesseby harbour. Photo: Nesseby kommune.
The main site to which the others relate is Ceavccageađgi. Hunting at Noidiidčearru and Gollevárre was closely linked to the habitation and burial sites along the coast, with Ceavccageađgi at the core. Finds from settlements as well as from graves and sacrificial sites confirm that the trapping systems for wild reindeer were very important for the people living at Ceavccageađgi, both in terms of subsistence and religious activities. Ruovdenjunlovta is an outstanding single period site and belongs to the long sequence at Ceavccageađgi which has the largest number of Stone Age houses and the earliest burials known from the region. The site also manifests how fishing and the hunting of sea mammals have been crucial for habitation and seasonal patterns.
Together, the sites are excellent examples of the last surviving hunting culture of the European mainland, and thus also of a deep tradition that elsewhere on this continent had been replaced by farming and urbanism. The sites, however, also document the specificities of local cultural dynamics, such as the transition to reindeer herding and the trajectories of coastal Sámi adaptation, mixing fishing, hunting, small scale farming that earlier included some reindeer for transportation and other needs, and cooperation with the reindeer herders.
Ceavccageađgi is situated on a wide headland on the Northern side of the Varanger fjord. The site is delimited by the sea to the south and two sacred mountains to the north.
Ceavccageađgi, the Sámi place name of the area, is also the name of a sacrificial stone surrounded by 13 concentric stone rings. Written sources reveal that cod liver oil was still being offered in sacrifice to the stone in the 19th century. Between the stone rings, offerings of reindeer horns and a variety of animal bones have been identified.
Other elements tied to religious practices at Ceavccageađgi are two sacrificial stone rings and a sacred stone in the shape of a bear. Ceavccageađgi further encloses an exceptionally large pre-Christian Sámi burial ground with between close to 400 identified graves. It was in use for about 2 500 years, which represents the extraordinary continuity of a single burial practice at one place.
9 The burials and sacrificial stone rings are situated in parts of the site that are dominated by cliffs, stone boulders, screes and rock fields. Many of the graves, especially in the parts that are easily accessible, have been opened, largely as a result of the hunt for Sámi skulls in the era of race research.
Left: Burial chamber under stone slab. Right: Opened grave with walls of standing and laid stones. Photo: The Sámi Parliament in Norway/Varanger Sámi Museum.
Varanger Sámi Museum.
Sacrificial stone ring in front of the Bear Stone, and the stone seen from a different angle. Photos: Varanger Sámi Museum.
10 Human bones from this burial place were shipped to the University of Oslo and to other European and American scientific institutions. However, many of the graves, especially in the eastern part of the burial field, are intact, and many are not yet identified. The burial practice involved shrouds of birch bark and gifts in the form of animal bones, mostly of reindeer, as well as tools and ornaments. In Sámi areas outside Varanger this practice commenced around 1000 AD.
Reindeer skulls and bones are sometimes found in graves with no trace of a human burial, reflecting the symmetry between animals and humans in the animistic Sámi religion.
As for traces of habitation, including tent rings, house pits, kitchen mittens and accumulated habitation deposits, the past is present in remarkable abundance at Ceavccageađgi and shows an unbroken line from the Mesolithic to modern times. About 300 houses have been identified. They are located at different levels above the sea, the older above the more recent in line with the raising of the land since the last glaciation.
The size and form of the houses vary through time. From the Mesolithic Age the remains of tents and small turf huts with a diameter of from 3 to 4 meters are recorded. From the end of the Late Stone Age and the beginning of the Early Metal Age (around 2000 – 1000 BC) the floor area of semi- subterranean houses was up to 50 m2. The variation between
A group of 37 pit houses from the early part of the Younger Stone Age, 4000 BC. Photo: Varanger Sámi Museum.
A group of 90 pit houses from the Early Metal Age, 1000 BC. Photo: Varanger Sámi Museum.
11 simple tent rings and solidly constructed turf huts probably reflects variations in mobility.
The youngest settlement traces, which lie close to the shore of today, date to the 18th and 19th century. They represent the coastal Sámi settlement here and are the remains of turf houses in traditional Sámi style, with both circular and rectangular floor plans. The rectangular house grounds, which are the most recent, are the remains of turf houses that served as a common home for both humans and animals.
The Ceavccageađgi site is a central reference area for research on Sámi prehistory and early history as well as on Sámi religion. It has also provided us with a rich immaterial heritage in the form of myths, tales, joiks (traditional Sámi songs) and place names.
More information of the Ceavccageađgi site can be found at http://www.luondu.no/.
Grazing reindeer always seek fresh pastures. Thus during the summer they seek higher elevations where herbs and grass sprout late. Here, they gather in big herds before the bulls spread them during the mating season.
In the interior of the Varanger peninsula there are several large stone built trapping corrals with long stone fences or drive lanes, extending for several kilometres, to guide the reindeer to a slaughtering site. The most magnificent and extensive of these trapping systems is located at Noidiidčearru. Noiddiidčearru means the Shamans´ Block Field. It is a low, barren mountain ridge, located within the borders of the Varanger Peninsula National Park.
The corrals and drive lanes are low, but were probably made higher by using birch branches. Varanger is the only place in the world where trapping fences for reindeer or caribou are seen in combination with circular enclosures.The largest systems may have been able to trap 200-300 animals at one time. They were a forerunner of the wooden fences and corrals used within reindeer husbandry and are technologically related to these.
On Noidiidčearru there are two corrals, one with a diameter of up to 160 metres, with several long fences leading to the openings. One of the drive lines connects the two corrals.
Corral with drive lines at Noidiidčearru.
Above: Corral with drive lines at Noidiidčearru. Below: Map of the trapping system. Bow hides and meat caches are indicated by black and lilac dots. Photo and map: The Sámi Parliament in Norway.
13 In the area there are also numerous bow-hides and meat caches. The find of an arrowhead dates one such structure to the Early Stone Age indicating that the fences and other structures may have been in use for a very long time. Written sources reveal that the fences for trapping wild reindeer were still in use in the 16th century.
Somewhat simplified, one can say that fences were used for trapping reindeer in the mountains, while pitfall systems were used in lower areas and valleys. In Varanger, 25 pitfall systems with close to 3400 single pits have been identified. A large number of these, 2686 pits in 14 systems, lie on the narrow land bridge between the interior part of the Varanger fjord and the Tana River. Also today, this area is a “bottleneck” when moving the reindeer herds from summer to winter pasturelands. At Gollevárri lies the largest of the pitfall systems. It consists of as much as 530 pits and several meat caches and bow-hides, and close to this system there are also 16 turf house foundations and thick layers of reindeer antlers. The turf houses are quite large, and may have housed up to 10 persons.
Map of the pitfall system at Gollevárri. The red arrow indicates the habitation site. Map: Tore Poppe, County Curator in Finnmark/Manker and Vorren 1953.
Left: Bow hide at Noidiidčearru. The Barents Sea can be seen 15 km to the north. Right: Drive line. Photo: he Sámi Parliament in Norway.
14 Here, the Varanger Sámi had their important autumn hunt dwelling site at the time when the
reindeer were migrating from the peninsula. It has been dated to the 13th – 15th century. A small excavation in 1965 revealed a large number of unfinished horn spoons, suggesting that it also was a site for horn spoon production. In addition, the finds indicate that the whole siida, including women and children, were present at the dwelling site.
Wild reindeer trapping ceased in the 17th century, and by around 1690 none of the systems were in use. The half-tamed reindeer followed the same routes as the wild reindeer. While knowledge about reindeer and the rich Sámi reindeer vocabulary were sustained within reindeer husbandry, the
The dwelling site at Gollevárri. Photo: The Sami Parliament in Norway. The area has been Lidar scanned, and the hunting pits show up clearly.
15 Coastal Sámi upheld fishing, sea mammal and small-game hunting and gathering as well as the traditional knowledge and vocabulary connected to these activities. There was extensive contact between the two groups based on reciprocity and exchange, and individuals could move between the groups, for instance by marriage.
While Ceavccageađgi displays 12 000 years of habitation in sequences defined by elevated beach ridges, Ruondenjunovta represents one fixed period in time. The site was inhabited between 4000 and 3000 BC.
On a narrow beach terrace 22-25 metres above today´s sea level, between a hill and a steep slope down to the sea, lie as many as 89 pit-houses in two and three rows. Most of them have circular to square ground plans, but also oval to rectangular ground plans are documented. The houses have had semi-subterranean floors with central fireplaces lined with stones.
The floor area varies from 15 to 30 m2. Even if the majority of the houses were not contemporary, at least some of them must have been used at the same time.
At the site there are also three burial cairns. Radiocarbon dating of two of them indicates
interestingly that the burials predate the settlement structures, which makes them the oldest burials known from the region.
The archaeological finds from the site show that the technique of grinding stone had became common and that slate was the most important stone tool material. The finds are very rich and include knives, spear- and arrowheads, all of which point to the site’s economic orientation towards marine resources.
Ruovdenjunlovta with 89 pit houses. Mountain willow shrubs grow in the house pits and make them stand out. Photo: Varanger Sámi Museum.
16 Middens with preserved organic material, such as debris bones and shells and some artefacts made of bone, have been found.
JUSTIFICATION OF OUTSTANDING UNIVERSAL VALUE
The Outstanding Universal Value of the four sites presented above, with Ceavccageađgi as the hub connecting them, lies in their exceptionally rich testimony to the last hunting and fishing culture of the European mainland. Thus the sites heuristically provide concreteness to a tradition which
elsewhere on the continent disappeared more or less completely during the first half of the Holocene epoch.
Furthermore, the sites represent an extraordinary adaptive robustness, and an unusual continuity of settlements, subsistence strategies, and religious practices. In the case of the burial place, used for about 2 500 years, this continuity is unparalleled.
When the wild reindeer hunting eventually came to an end, the close relationship between reindeer and humans continued within reindeer husbandry. Likewise, fishing and the use of other marine and terrestrial resources have been sustained up to today. The inhabitants´ close relation to the land is manifest also in the Sámi language through place names, stories and traditional knowledge.
The most relevant WHL criteria fulfilled by the Várjjat Siida sites are (iii), (v) and (vi).
Criterion (iii), bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilisation which is living or which has disappeared, is fulfilled by the combined sites being
a unique testimony to the last hunting culture of the European mainland and the deep tradition it was the outcome of;
a unique testimony to the robust adaptation of hunting and fishing societies to natural, cultural and social changes in an Arctic border zone;
a unique testimony to how indigenous cosmology and religion is interwoven with Arctic nature;
a unique testimony to an exceptional continuity of religious and ritual practices linked to death and regeneration.
Criterion (v), be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change, is fulfilled by the combined sites being
an outstanding example of interaction with Arctic nature, together with a remarkable sustainability of adaptive strategies and settlement;
an outstanding example of the intimate relation between man and reindeer, both wild and domesticated; and of how this relationship interacts with nature and landscape;
an outstanding example of the transition from hunting and fishing economy to reindeer husbandry and the incorporation of small scale Arctic farming.
17 Criterion (vi), be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance, is fulfilled by the combined sites
being directly and tangibly associated with the livelihood, dwelling, religion and cosmology of an indigenous people of the Arctic, and thus giving an outstanding and profound insight into these aspects of their life:
being directly and tangibly associated with the rich and unique traditional knowledge of the Varanger Sámi and their tales, myths, joiks and place names;
being crucially related to processes that proved decisive for the formation of key features of Sámi culture.
STATEMENTS OF AUTHENTICITY AND/OR INTEGRITY
Together, the combined sites include all the elements needed to express their Outstanding Universal Value. They furthermore express chronological and typological variation, richness in monument types, and thus constitute a remarkable archive for and testimony to the cultural activities of which they were once part. Moreover, they form integral elements of a landscape where nature and culture coexist in a direct, visible and largely undisturbed manner, and where also the connection between natural features, habitation, cosmology, and religion is made tangible.
The Arctic climate and the limited degree of modern impact has preserved organic material to an unusual extent and left stone structures and house grounds intact.
The reindeer economies, hunting and herding, and their associated lifestyles, provide a strong link between the past and the present, and add both authenticity and integrity to this heritage. The same applies to the Coastal Sámi fishing, gathering and small game hunting. The past is also transmitted and constantly made present in the Sámi language, place names, and landscape myths.
The Ceavccageađgi, Ruovdenjunluovta and Gollevárri sites are cornerstones in the archaeological record of the north. They are very much intact, as only minor parts have been excavated. All excavated houses have been reconstructed so that they appear as they were before the investigation. The graves that have been opened have not been closed, so many chambers are visible. This, however, is also a painful heritage in the sense that these opened graves at
Ceavccageađgi bear witness to a dark chapter of the recent history of the Sámi as well as of other indigenous peoples. From the mid 19th century onwards these and other graves were opened to meet the demands for “primitive” human remains at European and American scientific institutions preoccupied with racial and social Darwinist studies.
Relevant for the assessment of integrity and authenticity is that it is the Sámi people, across national borders as well as locally, that has taken the initiative for the nomination of the Várrjat Siida, an exceptionally valuable manifestation of Sámi cultural heritage, as a World Heritage Site.
The initiative is supported by the county of Finnmark, all the municipalities involved and Sámi Parliamentarian Council, the joint body of the Sãmi parliaments in Norway, Finland and Sweden. The reindeer herders´ organisations in the area also have responded positively.
COMPARISON WITH OTHER PROPERTIES
The Laponia site in Sweden is the only World Heritage Site with which the Várjjat Siida combined sites might be compared. Both sites are grazing land for reindeer and linked to Sámi culture. Other than that, there are few similarities. The Varanger Peninsula is part of the true Arctic, and is predominantly a coastal area where the use of marine resources such as fish, sea birds and sea mammals merges with reindeer hunting and subsequently herding in a process that has lasted for more than 12 000 years, and where subsistence and religious activities are inscribed in the landscape in extraordinary tangible ways. Originally, Laponia was nominated as a natural heritage site, and ICOMOS recommended that the cultural value as a reindeer herders´ landscape be added. The Outstanding Universal Value of the Várjjat Siida site is closely tied to the abundance, uniqueness, variation and time depth of cultural sites and their testimony to an indigenous Arctic hunting and fishing culture and an indigenous Arctic belief system.
The WHL Rock Art of Alta is comparable since it is situated in Finnmark and covers part of the time span of the Várjjat Sámi Site but the types of monuments are very different. Interestingly, the rock art site in Alta depicts reindeer corrals although they are seemingly made of wooden poles. Furthermore, the selected sites are highly comparable to other habitation, burial, sacrificial and hunting sites in Varanger. This is an area where the density of cultural sites is unusually high. The four sites are selected as the foremost examples in an area with many other magnificent sites including:
- sites from all the time periods that are present at Ceavccageađgi in an unbroken line and with Ruovdenjunlovta as a spectacular single-period example;
- burial sites with many graves, but nowhere in such an extraordinary abundance as at Ceavccageađgi or in such close vicinity to the habitation during the 2500 years the burial place was in use;
- large pitfall systems, but nowhere as large as at Gollevárri or connected to a house site used during the hunt;
- drive lines and corrals surrounded by bow hides and meat caches, but not as extensive and impressive as documented at Noidiidčearru;
- sacred and sacrificial sites, but nowhere with the variety and context offered at Ceavccageađgi.
Caribou/reindeer drive systems made of stone and/or wood are a common feature in the Arctic, for example in Canada, Alaska and Greenland, and have also been found in the mountain areas of inland Norway. They can be in the form of a V-shaped funnel with two lines of cairns and stones ending with opposing bow hides, or ending in a U-shaped corral, sometimes made of wooden poles. Circular enclosures made of solid stone walls are only found in Varanger.
The structures for hunting wild reindeer in Varanger can be compared with structures along Lake Tasersiaq in Greenland, for example. Along the 35 km long Lake Tasersiaq are many hunting structures such as bow hides, drives, and caches, but no pitfall trap systems or corrals. The earliest structures are dated to around 2000 BC, and the majority of the sites can be related to their use by the Inuit from the 14th century up to 1950. In Varanger, structures for hunting reindeer predate this by thousands of years and incorporate a greater range of hunting structures, as well as a technology that points to the transition to reindeer herding.
Elsewhere in northern and southern Norway, there are many areas with bow hides and pitfalls, and also drive lines. However, wild reindeer were being hunted in Varanger when the interior areas of southern Norway were still covered by ice. Varanger also stands out by the way the connection
19 between hunting and herding reindeer is manifested in the landscape. The unbroken relationship between man and reindeer and the maintenance of intimate knowledge of animals and the
landscape are revealed in practices, language and traditions. Another feature not found elsewhere is how the religious meaning of the hunt is revealed by burials, sacrificial sites and Sámi place names. In conclusion, elements of the Várjjat Siida sites may be compared with many sites, but seen as a whole and in relation to diversity, time depth and continuity, they are unparalleled. The burial place alone, with its numerous graves and the time span it covers, makes Várjjat Siida site stand out in a way that is exceptional and unique. The same can be said for the continuous record of settlement from the Early Stone Age to historic times, for the breathtakingly impressive trapping systems as well as for how the history of economic differentiation is traceable through monuments and sites. The combined sites are also exceptional in a circumpolar Arctic context in relation to the time-span of a single settlement site and burial place, and to the scale and form of the settlement and hunting structures. Moreover, they bear witness to the enduring importance of reindeer and coastal fishing along a coast that is ice free all year round at a latitude where coastal waters elsewhere are covered by ice.
Group of Varanger Sámi 1884. The importance of reindeer is revealed by the clothes and shoes while the boats show the importance of fishing. Ceavccageađgi is seen in the background. Photo: K. Knutsen collection, University of Bergen.