Rock carvings and paintings

Alta Rock Carvings

The Rock Drawings of Alta constitute the most important piece of evidence in favour of the existence of human activity in the confines of the Great North during the prehistoric period. Studied from 1967, the petroglyphs of the Alta fjord in the province of Tromsø were immediately classed among the leading rock art sites in the world. Close to the Arctic Circle, they are a valuable illustration of human activity bet ...
Founded: 4200-500 BC | Location: Alta, Norway

Cave of Niaux

The Cave of Niaux contains many prehistoric paintings of superior quality from the Magdalenian period. It is one of the most famous decorated prehistoric caves in Europe still open to the public. The paintings had been emerging on the cave walls during a long period between 11500 and 10500 years BC. From the very beginning of the seventeenth century the cave was of great interest for tourists, who left numerous traces on ...
Founded: 11500 BC | Location: Niaux, France

Rock Carvings in Tanum

One of the largest rocks of Nordic Bronze Age petroglyphs in Scandinavia is located in Tanumshede locality, Tanum Municipality. In total there are thousands of images called the Tanum petroglyphs, on about 600 panels within the World Heritage Area. These are concentrated in distinct areas along a 25 km stretch, which was the coastline of a fjord during the Bronze Age, and covers an area of about 51 hectares. Tanumshede ro ...
Founded: 1800-500 BC | Location: Tanum, Sweden

Backa Rock Carvings

Backa rock carvings date back to the Bronze Age (1000-500 BC). There are sixteen separate carvings depicting humans and ships. The most famous carving depicts a 1,5m long man with a spear.
Founded: 1000 - 500 BC | Location: Lysekil, Sweden

Himmelstalund Rock Carvings

Himmelstalund is a large park famous for having one of Sweden's biggest collection of petroglyphs with more than 1660 pictures. Some of the depicted boats having a similar shape as the Hjortspring boat. Oldest features have been dated to the transition between the Late ­Neolithic and the Early Bronze Age (1920­1740 BC).
Founded: 1900 BC | Location: Norrköping, Sweden

Rickeby Rock Carvings

Rickeby is known of its Bronze Age rock carvings. The area contains about 50 carvings displaying for example humans and animals.
Founded: 1700-500 BC | Location: Enköping, Sweden

Austre Åmøy Rock Carvings

In Austre Åmøy, specifically at the Meling farm, you can find the largest concentration of rock carvings in Rogaland. There are several fields in the area, with both large and small rock carvings. The largest petroglyph fields are prepared and signposted to the public, while the smaller fields are not accessible to visitors. On sloping rocks lies artwork carved by human hand 2000-3000 years ago. In Austre &A ...
Founded: 1000 BC - 0 AD | Location: Austre Åmøy, Norway

Järrestad Rock Carvings

There are over 1200 rock carvings near the road from Järrestad to Gladsax. Carvings date from the late Stone Age and Bronze Age and depicts animals, ships, footprints and humans. There are also three mounds from the late Bronze Age.
Founded: 2000 - 1700 BC | Location: Simrishamn, Sweden

Astuvansalmi Rock Paintings

The 65 rock paintings of Astuvansalmi are the largest found in the whole of Scandinavia. The oldest paintings are made 3000 - 2500 BC. They are located at the highest level (about 11 metres). The water level changed very fast about 2,5 metres with the landslide of Vuoksi. Later on the level slowly went down 8 metres to its present level. All the later paintings have been made from boats during the different historical wat ...
Founded: 3000 - 2500 BC | Location: Ristiina, Finland

Slagsta Rock Carvings

The rock carvings in Slagsta are the largest in Stockholm County. Rock carvings from the Bronze Age consists of 17 ships, three animal figures, a sole, 2-3 indeterminate figures, around 170 cup marks and a human figure. The human figure is characteristically designed legs with strong calves. During the same is a shallow carved ship depicted. The total machined surface is 4.8 x 3.3 meters. Slagsta inscription discovered S ...
Founded: 1800-500 BC | Location: Botkyrka, Sweden

Torsbo Rock Carvings

There are over 100 rock carvings depicting rich and wide variation of themes in Torsbo, including the longest boat carving in Sweden (4,5m). There are also figures of a tree, and several warriors carrying swords. Many of the warriors are depicted as having enlarged calves, a feature that is typical for this area. It cannot be rulled out that several of the carvings were made by the same person. The carvings as a whole hav ...
Founded: 1800-1500 BC | Location: Tanum, Sweden

Värikallio Rock Paintings

The Hossa Värikallio rock paintings are amongst the largest prehistoric rock paintings in Finland. The pictures on the rock wall rising from Lake Somerjärvi were painted in the Stone Age, i.e. about 3,500 - 4,500 years ago.Paintings were painted from a boat or when standing on the ice of the lake. On the surface of the rock wall there are 61 separate figures depicting scenes of hunting and shamanic rituals. The ...
Founded: 3000-100 B.C | Location: Suomussalmi, Finland

Möckleryd Rock Carvings

There are 140 rock carvings in Möckleryd and it is the largest rock art site in Blekinge dating probably from the Bronze Age. There are mainly boats, horses, people and elks described in carvings.
Founded: 1700-550 BC | Location: Torhamn, Sweden

Gärde Petroglyphs

Petroglyphs on the river of Gärdesån in Gärde were made approximately 7 000 years ago. The carvings consist primely of moose and belong to the oldest petroglyphs in Sweden.
Founded: 7000 - 2000 BC | Location: Offerdal, Sweden

Siega Verde

Siega Verde is an archaeological site in Serranillo, Villar de la Yegua. It was joined to the Côa Valley Paleolithic Art site in the World Heritage List in 2010. The site consists of a series of rock carvings, discovered in 1988 by professors Manuel Santoja, during an inventory campaign of archaeological sites in the valley of the Águeda river. Subjects include equids, aurochs, deer and goats, among the most com ...
Founded: 18000 BCE | Location: Villar de la Yegua, Spain

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Barnenez Cairn

The Cairn of Barnenez is the largest Megalithic mausoleum in Europe. It dates from the early Neolithic Age is considered one of the earliest megalithic monuments in Europe. It is also remarkable for the presence of megalithic art. Radiocarbon dates indicate that the first phase of the monument was erected between 4850 and 4250 BC, and the second phase between 4450 and 4000 BC. Pottery found in and around the monument indicates that it underwent a period of reuse in the Bronze Age, in the 3rd millennium BC.

The cairn was first mapped in 1807, in the context of the Napoleonic cadaster. Its first scientific recognition took place in the context of an academic congress in Morlaix in 1850, when it was classified as a tumulus. Privately owned until the 1950s, the cairn was used as a quarry for paving stones. This activity, which threatened to destroy the monument, was only halted after the discovery of several of its chambers in the 1950s. The local community then took control of the site. The cairn was restored between 1954 and 1968. At the same time, vegetation was removed from the mound and systematic excavation took place in and around the monument.

Today, the Barnenez cairn is 72 m long, up to 25 m wide and over 8 m high. It is built of 13,000 to 14,000 tons of stone. It contains 11 chambers entered by separate passages. The mound has steep facades and a stepped profile. Several internal walls either represent earlier facades or served the stability of the structure. The cairn consists of relatively small blocks of stone, with only the chambers being truly megalithic in character. The monument overlooks the Bay of Morlaix, probably a fertile coastal plain at the time of its erection.

Engraved symbols occur in several of the chambers and passages. They depict bows, axes, wave symbols or snakes and a repeated U-shaped sign. One of the carved slabs is in secondary use was originally part of a different structure, an interesting parallel to the situation in several other such monuments, including Gavrinis. The symbols on the engraved blocks resemble those found in other megalithic monuments in Brittany; in broader terms they belong to the cultural phenomenon described as megalithic art. One of the recurring symbols is sometimes interpreted as an anthropomorphic depiction (the so-called \'Dolmen Goddess\').

An exhibition in the modern entrance building explains the results of scientific excavation and displays some objects from the site.