Waterfalls and moving waters

The unnatural natural and flows of cosmic forces

Authored by: Terje Oestigaard

The Routledge Handbook of Sensory Archaeology

Print publication date:  November  2019
Online publication date:  October  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138676299
eBook ISBN: 9781315560175
Adobe ISBN:


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Moving water in general and waterfalls in particular, which often provoke strong sensory experiences and emotions, represent manifestations of power and entrances to otherworldly realms. Although these phenomena are natural in nature, they are also unnatural compared to other phenomena and hence ‘supernatural’. The unnatural natural differentiates the world and separates places with divine powers from places without powers. It also determines how and where humans may gain access to these supernatural forces. Such divine spheres and flows of cosmos are illustrated by discussion of three waterfalls along the Nile and of prehistoric Scandinavian water-worlds and waterfalls.

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