New petroglyphs found in Sweden

New petroglyphs found in Sweden

New petroglyphs found in Sweden

The Petroglyph Research Foundation has announced the discovery of new petroglyphs near the village of Fjällbacka in Bohuslän. These petroglyphs are said to be 15 meters long and depict ships, human figures, horses, and war chariots.

The discoveryed made at the Edsten farm, located near the village of Fjällbacka.

Fjällback. Photo: Adobe Stock

According to the Bohuslän Cave Sculpture Documentation Foundation (Stiftelsen för dokumentation av Bohusläns Hällristningar), the newly discovered petroglyph is entirely unique due to its location on a steep rock face on a small island during the Bronze Age, standing 3 meters above the present-day surface of the Earth.

The motifs are positioned along a single line corresponding to the sea level of that region during the years 800-700 BCE, suggesting that the carvings may represent boats. The foundation stated, “The motifs are also stylistically consistent with this period.”

Photo: Stiftelsen för dokumentation av Bohusläns Hällristningar

Archaeologists believe that the dating of the sculptures is highly precise. “We have dated them based on the sea level during the Bronze Age, which was 12 meters higher than today. They could not have been created earlier or later – precisely because of the sea level,” explained archaeologist Andreas Toreld from the Bohuslän Cave Rock Carving Documentation Foundation for Science in Poland.

Petroglyphs are carved drawings on rocks. The word “petroglyph” comes from the Greek words “petros,” meaning rock, and “glifein,” meaning to carve. Petroglyphs should not be confused with pictograms, which are painted onto rocks.

Photo: Stiftelsen för dokumentation av Bohusläns Hällristningar

During the examination of a rock in the pasture, petroglyphs were found. At one point, parts of a ship emerged beneath a layer of moss. In total, 13 ships, 9 horses, 4 wagons, and 7 human figures have been uncovered.

It was once believed that the carving of petroglyphs was part of religious practices, but they are now believed to be a source of information about cultural history and social hierarchies.

The petroglyphs are quite large, including a 2-meter-long ship and a 1-meter-tall human figure. “The newly carved petroglyphs on the stone acquired a whitish surface. Such large images on a vertical rock could be seen from several hundred meters away. The steep rock face is oriented towards the inland areas where people lived as farmers. Perhaps the purpose was to boast about journeys made on the seas,” reported the archaeologist for Science in Poland.

Photo: Stiftelsen för dokumentation av Bohusläns Hällristningar

Bohuslän is a historic region (landskap) located on the western coast of Sweden in Skagerrak, with Norway as its northern border. It derives its name from Bohus Fortress. “The rock carvings of Bohuslän are one of the most peculiar art worlds preserved to our time,” says Jarl Nordbladh, a professor of archaeology at the University of Gothenburg.

Cover Photo: Stiftelsen för dokumentation av Bohusläns Hällristningar

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