Rock Carvings – Petroglyphs

By | February 3, 2014
Rock carvings, petroglyphs, are images created by removing part of a rock surfaces by pecking and carving.

In total there are more than 3000 rock carvings, rock art, in the World Heritage area in Tanum.

Since 1994 the rock carvings in Tanum have been included on UNESCO’s world heritage list. The rock carvings is an outstanding example of Bronze Age art (1800 – 600 BC).

Rock art are images created by removing part of a rock surfaces by pecking and carving. Other terms used are petroglyphs, rock carvings, engraving, and stone images and for the images other terms are signs, figures, symbols or glyphs. Rock art are found around the world and are associated with prehistoric cultures.

The oldest rock art found are dated to the Neolithic and Paleolithic time, about 10.000 to 12.000 years ago.

The Northern Bohuslän (the red marked area on the map) has the largest concentration of rock art anywhere in Scandinavia. The carvings has the greatest variety of images that exist anywhere in the north of Europe. Common images are cup marks, discs, wheels, circles, animals, hands, foot soles, nets, ships, warriors, deers, bulls, scenes of ploughing men, hunting scenes and religious or ceremonial activities.



Vitlycke Rock Art

Vitlycke marks the centre of the World Heritage area in Tanum. Other major sites in the area are Fossum, Litsleby, Aspeberget, Jörlov, Kalleby, Massleberg, Fossum, Tegneby and Bro. In total there are more than 3000 rock carvings occurring in more than 200 panels in the Northern Bohuslän.  There are many theories to explain their purpose – astronomical markers, maps, symbolic communication, forms of pre-writing, shamanism or as a result of the genetically inherited structure of the human brain.

The Nordic Bronze Age cirka 1800 – 600 BC

The Nordic Bronze Age was characterized by a warm climate comparable to that of present day Mediterranean. In the end of the bronze age (circa 650 BC) a radical change in climate brought in wetter and colder climate. Due to the climate change and the loss of population Scandinavia had a cultural recession lasting for about thousand years until the rise of another advanced civilization, the Viking Age.

Images, rock carvings:

Rock Art, Rock Carvings, Petroglyphs – Links