Comparative Guts

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Slate knife with two porpoises engraved.

Found at Teksdal, central Norway.

Photo: Per E. Fredriksen, NTNU University Museum 

This single-edged knife of reddish-brown slate, or sandstone bears three engravings of fish or porpoises, two on one side (shown here) and one on the back. All three display the same internal patterning, a line running from the mouth to a square geometrical figure inside the body. The line is crossed by a series of smaller lines at an oblique angle to the main line. Although this is not an anatomically correct representation of neither a fish nor a porpoise, it can perhaps be interpreted as the representation of the animal’s oesophagus leading to its stomach, while the oblique lines may indicate fishbones or ribs. The total length of both blade and handle is 15.5 cm.