Astuvansalmi Rock Paintings

Ristiina, Finland

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 water-levels. The form is clearly visible during wintertime while viewed from the ice of the lake.

The Astuvansalmi rock paintings contain the following pictures: 18-20 elk, about as many human figures, tens of hands and animal tracks, 8-9 boats, geometrical figures and pictures that are thought to show a fish and a dog. The paintings could have a link to the Siberian and North European shamanistic tradition.

Other archeological artefacts have also been found on the site at the bottom of the lake, for example small amber statuettes of old gods, animal jewellery and arrowheads.

Astuvansalmi rock paintings are submitted to the Tentative List of UNESCO World Heritage Centre.

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