Animating rituals at Sámi sacred sites in northern Finland

Anna Kaisa Salmi, Tiina Äikäs, Sanna Lipkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


This article concentrates on the performative nature of rituals at Sámi sacred sites called sieidi in northern Finland. These sites are usually natural objects, such as stones, unshaped by humans. Offerings, such as reindeer antlers, crania, meat, metal, and alcohol, were made to the sieidi in order to ensure future hunting success. In this article, the concept of ritual as performative action is used as a tool to emphasize how practices, senses, and emotions comprised different parts of the rituals that took place at sieidi sites. Understanding ritual as performative action helps us to animate the rituals at sieidi sites with other people, animals, sounds, smells, movements, and feelings. We also seek to re-evaluate the context-related nature of the rituals. Finally, we discuss the implications for the interpretation of such sites where there are no material traces of offerings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)212-235
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Social Archaeology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011


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