Tanum, a UNESCO World Heritage Rock Art Centre, is famous for its petroglyphs put there 3500 years ago by the Bronze Age people who lived in this area of northern Sweden.
Chipped out of one of the large granite outcroppings at Tanum is a glyph of a bull (or maybe an ancient extinct auroch) with people dancing(?) around it, one with a hoop(?). These petroglyphs are so old that they are sometimes open to a wide variety of theories and interpretations. Brochure map showing the primary highlights of the Tanum which includes two different 6k walks around the primary petroglyph sites.
The Museum and Reproduction of a Bronze Age Settlement.
First stop was the Vitlycke Museum where the lifestyle of these Bronze Age people who created these petroglyphs was explored. Just outside the museum was a reproduction of a Bronze Age settlement. Interior design circa 1500 BC.
Petroglyphs and a Cairn in the Nearby Woodlands.
From there we meandered around the site, stopping first at Världsarv, with masses of petroglyphs on large granite outcroppings scattered throughout the woodlands.Each rock appears to tell a series of stories. At the top of this rock is pictured two men with shields and axes fighting over a dotted line that I thought was a ‘border’ but that archeologists have deemed a ‘path’.Based on traces of red ochre in the carvings the archeologists at some point painted the petroglyphs red. This is a controversial practice today, but without the paint the details are often very difficult to make out.Each site had a cluster of petrogylphs that showed a lively lusty people who spent their time fighting, hunting, travelling, playing music and doing acrobatics.Most of their travelling was done on the water as their petroglyphs of boats and more boats show. The world was warmer and the water was much higher 3500 years ago. With much of the land flooded boats were the best way to get around. In amongst all the petroglyphs there is also a cairn marking a gravesite.
A 6 Km Petroglyph Walk amongst Farmer’s Fields.
Most of the petroglyphs on this walk weren’t painted red. The ‘net’ is considered a significant petroglyph.According to the archeologists this is not likely to be two boats dragging a huge net between them and trawling for fish, but rather a symbolic image of the world as these Bronze Age people pictured it, connecting all the peoples together.
More Significant Petroglyphs.
One of the things I found myself doing was trying to figure out what these petroglyphs meant, especially the more unusual ones. Afterwards I read the write-ups and was usually way off, at least according to what the archeologists think. What are your thoughts about the meanings?
The Sun Symbol at Aspeberget. The giant Spear-God dominates the rocks at Litsleby-Spjutgudens. A petroglyph that I have called ‘The Kiss’. More about our trip to Denmark & Sweden in 2018.