Rock Carvings in Tanum

Tanum, Sweden

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 rock carvings have been declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Scandinavian Bronze Age and Iron Age people were sophisticated craftsmen and very competent travelers by water. (Dates for ages vary with the region; in Scandinavia, the Bronze Age is roughly 1800 to 500 BCE) Many of the glyphs depict boats of which some seem to be of the Hjortspring boat type carrying around a dozen passengers. Wagons or carts are also depicted.

Other glyphs depict humans with a bow, spear or axe, and others depict hunting scenes. In all cases the pictures show people performing rituals. There is a human at a plough drawn by two oxen, holding what might be a branch or an ox-goading crop made of a number of strips of hide.

The rock carvings are endangered by erosion due to pollution. To the dismay of some archaeologists, some have been painted red to make them more visible for tourists.

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Address

Vitlycke 2, Tanum, Sweden
See all sites in Tanum

Details

Founded: 1800-500 BC
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Sweden
Historical period: Neolithic Age (Sweden)

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Kristýna Koželská Víchová (3 years ago)
Nice free museum and walk in the forest between locations of carvings and cairns
Charles Lau (3 years ago)
This fascinating bronze age rock carvings are listed as an UNESCO world heritage site. The carvings are admission free and open 24 hours. There are information panels around the carvings, and the excellent Vitlycke Museum (free admission) has explanations on the history and meanings behind the carvings. (In the museum you can pick up a map showing the locations of other rock carvings in the region.) Further up the hill, there is a bronze age burial mound. Follow the signs, and watch out for uneven ground.
Marc de Ruyter (3 years ago)
Fantastic, very old rock carvings.
Marcello Bozzolasco (3 years ago)
Very interesting experience and excellent local guide who presented carvings with competence
Alpa Pandya (3 years ago)
Beautiful rock carvings. I strongly recommend joining one of the free guided presentations offered by the museum. Clean bathrooms. Nice cafe.
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