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

Glamis Manse Stone

The Glamis Manse Stone, also known as Glamis 2, is a Pictish stone. Dating from the 9th century, it is located outside the Manse, close to the parish church. It is inscribed on one side with a Celtic cross and on the other with a variety of Pictish symbols. The stone is a cross-slab 2.76 metres high. The slab is pedimented and carved on the cross face in relief, and the rear face bears incised symbols. It falls into John ...
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Forfar, United Kingdom

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

Cave of Altamira

The Cave of Altamira is located near the historic town of Santillana del Mar. It is renowned for prehistoric parietal cave art featuring charcoal drawings and polychrome paintings of contemporary local fauna and human hands. The earliest paintings were applied during the Upper Paleolithic, around 36,000 years ago. Because of their deep galleries, isolated from external climatic influences, these caves are particularly we ...
Founded: 36,000 BCE | Location: Santillana del Mar, Spain

Aberlemno Sculptured Stones

The Aberlemno Sculptured Stones are a series of five Class I and II Early Medieval standing stones found in and around the village of Aberlemno. The stones with Pictish carvings variously date between about AD 500 and 800. Aberlemno 1, 3 and 5 are located in recesses in the dry stone wall at the side of the road in Aberlemno. Aberlemno 2 is found in the Kirkyard, 300 yards south of the roadside stones. In recent years, b ...
Founded: 500-800 AD | Location: Aberlemno, United Kingdom

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

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

Scurati Caves

The Scurati Caves are an ancient settlement and a speleological geological site located in the municipality of Custonaci. The site includes a total of nine caves. The largest cave is the Mangiapane cave, which is about 70 meters high, 13 wide and 50 deep. Numerous ancient findings have been found in the site including rock paintings. Guido Dalla Rosa first explored the area in 1870, surfacing ancient clues of a human pre ...
Founded: 18,000 BCE | Location: Custonaci, Italy

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

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

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

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

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

St Orland's Stone

St Orland's Stone is a Pictish Cross-Slab at Cossans, near Kirriemuir and Forfar.  The stone is a worked slab of Old Red Sandstone and it is 2.4 metres tall. The slab is carved on both faces in relief and, as it bears Pictish symbols, it falls into John Romilly Allen and Joseph Anderson's classification system as a class II stone. The cross face bears a ringed Celtic cross decorated with interlaced knotwork and spir ...
Founded: 500-800 AD | Location: Forfar, United Kingdom

Camus Cross

The Camus Cross is an Early Medieval Scottish standing stone located on the Panmure Estate near Carnoustie. First recorded in the 15th century in a legal document describing the boundaries between Camuston and the barony of Downie, and described in the 17th century by Robert Maule, it is a freestanding cross, rare in Eastern Scotland. The cross is thought to date from the tenth century, and exhibits distinctive Hiberno- ...
Founded: 10th century AD | Location: Carnoustie, United Kingdom

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

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

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

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

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

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Kisimul Castle

Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.

Heavy debts eventually forced the Macneil chiefs to sell Barra in 1838. However, a descendant, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, repurchased the estate in 1937, and set about restoring his ancestral seat. It passed into Historic Scotland’s care in 2000.

The castle dates essentially from the 15th century. It takes the form of a three-storey tower house. This formed the residence of the clan chief. An associated curtain wall fringed the small rock on which the castle stood, and enclosed a small courtyard in which there are ancillary buildings. These comprised a feasting hall, a chapel, a tanist’s house and a watchman’s house. Most were restored in the 20th century, the tanist’s house serving as the family home of the Macneils. A well near the postern gate is fed with fresh water from an underground seam. Outside the curtain wall, beside the original landing-place, are the foundations of the crew house, where the sailors manning their chief’s galley had their quarters.