The rock of the Spear God

Litsleby is situated 2 kilometers south from the Vitlycke museum on the road to Kville. Follow the roadsign Litsleby to the right and continue for approx. 1 km.

The Litsleby rock contains the largest figure of Sweden: 2,3 metres high. He is called ‘The Spear God’ and is thought to represent a god. This was a nature spirit that had become increasingly influential over the life of humans and was therefore depicted in an oversized format. Some researchers believe that the Norse religion practiced by the Vikings dated back a lot longer. The Viking gods had different attributes, like a hammer (axe) or spear. Is the figure before us an early Odin, whose attribute was the spear?

Between the bulwark and the keel on the two biggest ships are some round, shield-like figures. One of the shields has seven segments, one has nine, and two have thirteen. So called stone circles, a type of grave common in the Bronze and Iron Ages, usually consist of seven, nine, eleven or thirteen stones. There is a connection between ships and death, and between circles and graves. The ships may have represented the journey to the afterlife.

The ships in this carving have been dated to the Iron Age, 500 -0 BC. In Denmark, the Hjortspring Boat, a clinker-built boat that looks just like the ships in the carving has been found. The Danish boat was a warship with military equipment and iron weapons.

On a small rock, 100 metres up into the woods is a remarkable rider motif.

Tegneby - a remarkable rider motif

There are eight riders, five of which are armed with javelins and shields. The riders carry rectangular shields of Celtic style. These became popular in the early part of the Iron Age and replaced the round shields of the Bronze Age.

The domestic horse arrived in southern Scandinavia some time during the 21st century BC and became very important in local mythology. It was the horse that, together with the ship, pulled the sun across the sky. The art of riding came fairly late. Most likely, humans didn’t learn to ride until the very late Bronze Age and early Iron Age. In pre-historic times, horses were sometimes sacrificed. As part of the ritual, the horsemeat would be eaten, while the head and lower legs were sacrificed to the gods in lakes and waterways. When Christianity was introduced, eating horsemeat became taboo, as the priests saw this as a pagan custom.


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