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Norway: Solbakk Helleristninger

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Solbakk Helleristninger | Norway | Europe

[Visited: April 2002]

It is less than 40 minutes by boat from Stavanger to arrive at Tau from where a bus awaits you for a ride along the coast to Solbakk. It is here that you can take a path leading you to the grey rock formations that are so typical of Scandinavia. Here, there are endless vistas across the sea, with small islands floating in the quiet sea.

Picture of Solbakk Helleristninger (Norway): Helleristninger rock carvings, Stavanger

Soon, you come across one more rock, but this one is special. This rock has been used by people in the Bronze Age to leave their traces, their message about their daily lives. This is the most extensive site of Helleristninger, the petroglyphs of ancient Scandinavians. They consist mainly of two different motives: boats in various shapes, and concentric circles.

Picture of Solbakk Helleristninger (Norway): Concentric circles depicting sun, Stavanger

Obviously, in the Norwegian landscape which is not easily accessible, boats were of utmost importance for transportation, as well as for hunting and fishing. And in this part of the world, with scarce light for almost half the year, the sun is a very important element. The sky was seen as the ocean of the sun god, hence when the sun god travelled, he used a boat. Perhaps these carvings are remnants of old spring ceremonies, to celebrate the return of the sun after long, dark winters.

Picture of Solbakk Helleristninger (Norway): Detail of rock carving, helleristninger, Stavanger
Picture of Solbakk Helleristninger (Norway): Helleristninger rock carvings, Stavanger
Picture of Solbakk Helleristninger (Norway): Landscape near Stavanger

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