The meaning of Rock Art

Within recent research it is beyond any doubt that the carvings have a religious nature.

Human figures with different kind of weapons, especially axes, dominate many compositions and they look impressive. The finds show us that the many depictions of “weapons” can be interpreted as ceremonial weapons, symbols in the religion of the Bronze Age. The choice of material makes them useless for practical use. They served as symbols of power for the reigning elite in a religious and political context, that is still partly unknown to us. Many rituals ensuring the fertility of humans, animals and plants are described in the images. The relation to the higher powers and the wish for their blessing dominated life, as it secured the survival and development of the society.

Fossum skeppsfigur

One can also speak of “styles” during certain periods – new impulses and traditions found its way into the image language. Europe has had economic and political connections over thousands of years. Contacts were established, deals were made and the countless finds are the silent witness of a vivid exchange, not only of goods, but also of ideas and symbols.

This pictorial tradition was alive for at least 2000 years at a time of extensive communication. Based upon the evidence available, it would appear people have migrated and immigrated during all periods, taking culture and traditions with them. From this, one might remark that “EU” has effectively existed for over 10.000 years. Today, we still speak of a cosmopolitional tradition with local variations from the many symbols found across the globe.

The rock carvings can be seen as the “Bronze Age Bible”, a visual language that tells which meaning the spiritual world had for the earthly needs of the society.

Interpretation Rock Art Archaeological context


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