Object of the month: Sinkers

Monthly Artifacts


These sinkers were found during the excavations of settlements at Elvebakken (Furubakken) and in Saltvika in 1925 and 1959. They are both dated to the Stone age.

In Norway, sinkers have been important tools since the Stone age, and they have been made in many shapes and sizes. Some are oval shaped with a pecked furrow around the stone (like the ones we see here). Others are flat stones with a tiny hole in them. Some sinkers even have ornamentation. The sizes vary a lot, from a few grams to well over a kilogram. The function of the sinkers is to get the line and the bait or the fishing net down to the desired depth. Some rock art figures here in Alta imply that people 7000 years ago fished at both shallow waters, and at great depths. It is possible that the sizes of the sinkers indicated at what depth they were meant to be used.

Written by Rune Normann, curator