Documentation and research

It is a sad fact that the condition of the rocks is critical, and a large part of the rock carvings that are being documented now, are slowly disappearing from our sight. An image-tradition, over 4.000 years old is coming to an end.

Bro Utmark

Tanums Hällristningsmuseum Underslös, the educational institute for documentation of rock carvings, has a long tradition and experience in the documentation of the rock carvings and the development of the various documentation techniques, continuously evaluating the application and suitability of methods used on the rocks.

In 2007 the Swedish Rock Art Research Archive (SHFA) was established. It is a national project with the goal to build up a research database and an archive for the documentation and research of the rock carvings, led by the University of Gothenburg. The archive, scanning and digitalization laboratory is placed at Tanums Hällristningsmuseum Underslös. You can follow the work at

The research database will be of great help to everyone with an interest in rock carvings and the material will give important knowledge on a time where history was told through images.

However, interpretation of the images is difficult. They were generated within an old, prehistoric context, and have been encrypted at the moment of creation in a code that was the product of their own cultural and social reality. Deciphering the code is not a simple process. The vision of the world during the Bronze Age is in no way comparable to ours.

Archaeological context Rock Art


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