The Rock Art of Alta

Ancient Art: The Rock Art of Alta (November 14 Night Thread)

Welcome back to another look at an example of exquisite art from pre-history!

The Rock Art of Alta

The Rock Art of Alta

Way, way up in the remote parts of Norway, far north of the Arctic Circle, at the head of the Alta Fjord, there are thousands of ancient paintings and carvings are found on the smooth rock surfaces near the water’s edge.

The rock paintings were discovered by scientists in the 1960s, though they were commonly known amongst the locals. Alta was an important meeting place far north of the Arctic Circle from around seven thousand years ago. Across five different areas there are engraved images of elk, bears, geese, whales, fish, and all manner of local wildlife in vivid, wonderful drawings.

There are also images of hunting, fishing, and herding reindeer, as well as dancing and rituals, a true insight into real-life events as well as the myths and legends of the chilly north.

Similarly to other sites around the world, art from many different generations mingle amongst each other, reflecting the change of the hunter-gatherer societies and the evolution of their styles. Archaeologists date the rock art via estimating the land upheaval and the changing shoreline as the last Ice Age came to an end. The sea level at Alta was over 20 metres higher 7000 years ago. The carvings move in different phases as the dwellers of the land moved with the sea, the oldest being further away from the current shoreline at the highest points of the current landscape.

Have a wonderful night everyone, and join me tomorrow for the final part of my investigation into ancient art!