Tanum, a Bronze Age Petroglyph UNESCO Site in Sweden

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. Petroglyph of a bull (or maybe an ancient extinct auroch) with bronze age people chipped out of the granite at Tanum, a UNESCO World Heritage Rock Art Centre in SwedenBrochure map showing the primary highlights of the Tanum which includes two different 6k walks around the primary petroglyph sites. Tanum, a UNESCO World Heritage Rock Art Centre, is famous for its petroglyphs put there 10,000 years ago by the Bronze Age people

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.metal figurines of the bronze age people in Tanum Just outside the museum was a reproduction of a Bronze Age settlement. Thatched roof in a recreation of a Bronze Age village in Tanum, SwedenInterior design circa 1500 BC.Painted design on a wall of a recreated Bronze Age house in Tanum, Sweden

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.A large granite outcropping covered with petroglyphs of boatsEach 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’.Men fighting with shields and axes over what the 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.A large granite outcropping with a petroglyph of a boatEach site had a cluster of petrogylphs that showed a lively lusty people who spent their time fighting, hunting, travelling, playing music and doing acrobatics.Bronze Age petroglyphs of men with spears chipped out of the granite at Tanum World Heritage Rock Art Centre in SwedenMost 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. Petroglyphs of boats full of bronze age people chipped out of the granite at Tanum, a UNESCO World Heritage Rock Art Centre in SwedenIn amongst all the petroglyphs there is also a cairn marking a gravesite.Cairn marking a grave of the Bronze Age people that lived at Tanum, a UNESCO World Heritage Rock Art Centre in Sweden

A 6 Km Petroglyph Walk amongst Farmer’s Fields.

A discrete trail marker on a fence post on our walk through farmland to the Vandring petroglyph sitesMost of the petroglyphs on this walk weren’t painted red. Petroglyph of a boat with an acrobatic displayThe ‘net’ is considered a significant petroglyph, a symbolic image of the world as these Bronze Age people pictured it, connecting all the peoples together.A large granite outcropping covered with a petroglyph of a net

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.  Sun symbol notes at Tanum, a UNESCO World Heritage Rock Art Centre with petroglyphs by the Bronze Age people of Sweden The giant Spear-God dominates the rocks at Litsleby-Spjutgudens.  Bronze Age petroglyphs of a man with a spear chipped out of the granite at Tanum World Heritage Rock Art Centre in SwedenA petroglyph that I have called ‘The Kiss’.  Petroglyph that I have called 'The Kiss'More about our trip to Denmark & Sweden in 2018.

5 responses to “Tanum, a Bronze Age Petroglyph UNESCO Site in Sweden

  1. Pingback: Rosenquist’s Mylar Mirrors at the ARoS Modern Art Museum, Denmark | Elizabatz Gallery·

  2. This is so interesting. I have been through Tanum but never realised there were petroglyphs there. I did however, see some nearer to Norway near Stromstad. I love that the ancient people has a sense of community with the net. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • The net was especially fascinating to me as I once did a sketch of people in the world connected by a net that was constantly changing like a cat’s cradle, moving them close to each other at points in time and then further away. When I saw the description of the net I thought that maybe I had been channelling my ancestors.

  3. Pingback: A 6 Km Petroglyph Walk Amongst Farmers’ Fields in Tanum, Sweden | Albatz Travel Adventures·

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