Interpretation and dating

There has been a clear distance in Scandinavian archaeology between researchers working with rock carvings and those who are focused on the archaeological finds, such as settlements, graves and offerings. It was not before the 1950’s that a greater focus on relationships between rock carvings and different aspects of the surrounding archaeological context slowly developed. This realization resulted in parity within archaeological research between the artifacts and the images on the rocks led to recognition of the value of the images as a source of information in our attempt to learn more and to understand the prehistoric societies and their religious and worldly values.

Hede Kville

Rock art research now incorporates the many finds from excavations near rock carving sites in Scandinavia and Italy during the last decade, as well as knowledge from advances in other disciplines. The international exchange of knowledge and experience also contributes to a more convincing interpretation. The rock carvings have the benefit that they are earth bound and clear to see. Only in exceptional situations have they been the subject of disturbance from newer cultures, such as Christianity. As a consequence, the carvings are an authentic prehistoric source of information. Moreover the carvings are made so accurate and detailed that it is relatively easy to compare the iconography with the, often datable, archaeological finds. This creates the possibility for a chronological division of many of the images.

Introduction Rock Art Meaning of Rock Art


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