What do modern hunters and the hunters of the Stone Age have in common? Get a closer look at Norway’s 11,500-year-old hunting tradition that starts with stone arrows and ends with bullets.
Many of today's hunters have experienced coming across the remains of old hunting pits and fences while stalking reindeer in the mountains. This creates a sense of belonging and a feeling that they are part of an ancient tradition, where hunting has been the most important source of food for as long as people have lived in Norway.
There are some common features that connect Norwegian hunters throughout the ages: We still hunt the same animals, and - a distinctive feature in Norway - hunting has always been accessible for all, no matter which social class we come from.
In this exhibition we show what the first hunters were hunting and the weapons they used. Get a closer look at how hunting methods and equipment have changed through time, from the first Stone Age arrowheads to modern hunting rifles and dog leashes with GPS transmitters.
Complete arrows from the Viking Age
You will also see unique archaeological finds that have been hidden in glaciers and under the mountain snow for thousands of years before the ice melted and they reappeared. For example, complete hunting arrows from the Viking Age with shafts and feathers, the skeleton of a dog from the 1500s and shoes and other gear prehistoric hunters used when hunting in the mountains.
Hunter and warrior in one
In the Viking Age, powerful men were buried with both warrior and hunting equipment. Becoming a skillful hunter was considered the best training for becoming a succesful warrior. We show a particularly well-preserved hunting grave from Grimsdalen in Rondane.
The hunter’s best friend
The dog has been the hunter's best friend and hunting companion throughout history. In the exhibition you will find the skeleton of a dog that died in the high mountains over 500 years ago. Ongoing DNA tests will tell us more about this dog and how closely it is related to today's hunting dogs.
The ethics of hunting
The exhibition also allows us to reflect on hunting ethics, past and present. For the modern hunter, it is important that the animals are killed safely and effectively, without unnecessary suffering. In earlier times, this was probably not a concern. A small arrow could kill a 500-pound moose, but it may have taken a long time before it died. And today, it is no longer acceptable to chase an entire herd of reindeer into a lake and then stab them to death with knives or spears from a boat.
Welcome to The Hunter. We hope you enjoy getting to know more about this special fellowship and its development through thousands of years!
Curator of objects and research