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Cup stone scandal in Finland

June 26, 2010

So called cup stones are ancient stones, boulders or horizontal rock faces that have one or several ´cups´ or man made depressions on them. On some stones you might find over one hundred cups, like on the famous “Finland´s largest sacrificial stone” situated in Hämeenlinna, south-central Finland. Although precise age of cup stones are shrouded in mystery, archaeologists connect these remarkable artifacts shaped by both man and nature to the beginning of farming in our country. Broadly speaking this means that their age (ie. time of manufacture) could roughly be anything from 3500 to 1000 years.

Its likely that cup stones were originally used for fertility rites, butchering rituals and honouring the dead. In fact, they we used for sacrificial placement of first milk and grain up until the early 20th Century. They have also been used for healing the sick, as rain water collected in the cups have been thought to posses special powers. Today cup stones are used by people of suomenusko faith, who use and revere them for the very same reasons as their makers and later users did. This means that cup stones represent thousands of years of continuous traditional belief, as well as living connection to the land and our shared spiritual past. (More on suomenusko and Finnish ´paganism´, go to Taivaannaula.)

Unfortunately the Hämeenlinna cup stone I mentioned in the beginning is now under threat in the form of relocation, which is due to expansion plans of nearby car dealer´s business premises. As I have explained, these ancient stones represent a precious part of our cultural heritage. They should be protected as part of old cultural landscape as well as part of the changing modern enviroment. Furthermore, cup stones must be protected were they are, due to their religious significance. They are places of ritual and sacrifice for people of suomenusko faith, and this must be acknowledged.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 28, 2010 21:41

    Just discovered your site!

    About those holes. I think they look like mortar holes. Californian natives pounded acorns and similar stuff in such holes I think I’ve read.

    • December 30, 2010 11:22

      Very possible indeed! In the end, we just don´t know the original function. Theories reg certain fertility and healing rites come from later ethnographic information, ie. 19th century.

  2. October 10, 2010 12:13

    Hei! Että jätit minut kommentin topic – ?

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