Friday, July 10, 2009

Archaeological Find at Rest Area West of Voss

Norway Department of Transportation engineers have built a rest stop/picnic area right on top of a neolithic site!

The three guide stones are on a north/south axis; sun light from the fjord illuminates them in order on winter solstice; or possibly summer soltice

Note the stone circle surrounding the north picnic table

Stone circle around the south table, or maybe it was the middle

The entire site is encircled by a gigantic stone circle (much of which, alas, is buried beneath the E16)

A stone table for human sacrifice?

Tests suggests it was perhaps a neolithic picnic table

We believe the mizzen to be a later addition

Vicki adds:

Voss, Norway July 5, 2000

Before I forget I just want to mention how boring the 7 hours drive from Stockholm to Oslo was--all pine trees, rolling hills and lakes with very few houses let alone villages. It was pretty for the first hour but after that—those of you who have driven across upper Minnesota or southern Canada north of the Great Lakes will know what I mean. These are not even old growth forests—not when people have been living here since the last ice age! Anyway one quickly saw why the Swedish immigrants felt quite at home in the upper mid west.

In contrast, Norway is a scenic wonderland and we have been to some awfully wonderful places before. First we drove through Lillehammer of 1994 Olympics fame. It is really a tiny city—not half as large as Missoula, at the end of a gorgeous huge lake and right at the beginning of the big mountains. Spent the night in the parking lot outside the Olympic skating venue along with about 9 other “free” campers. Then we turned west into the big mountains that run all the way to the west coast and fjord country. I’m sure Mark will describe his big hike, but we basically drove for two days through country much like the Beartooth Highway—except more of it. Wild, desolate and just entering mid spring, even though it is early July. We are so far North that treeline stops at about 3000 ft. and even the 4500 ft. peaks look like the Alps with all their snow and some of the largest glaciers in Europe.

The last two days we have driven over the wet-your-pants highways with dozens of hairpin turns, impossible drop offs, and large tour buses passing you on a 1 lane road with pull offs. Rick Steves advises passengers not to scream until actually hit or having left the road. I was able to comply but have ground about an inch of enamel off my teeth. The views were worth it though, especially when the mountain pass area ended and we stopped to gaze at the Sognefjord 4000 ft below us. It was truly one of the amazing sites of my life. (However, today when we started down another of these crazy roads and we passed a sign saying 18% grade ahead, we both decided that turning around was the best thing to do and we would just have to miss that waterfall.)

By the way, though Norway is absolutely wonderful, both Mark and I are constantly seeing things that remind us of similar sites in Montana. Okay, Montana doesn’t have fjords but it has drop dead scenery that can hold its own against almost anywhere else we have been.

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