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Rock Carvings in Tanum

Rock Carvings in Tanum

The rock carvings in Tanum, in the north of Bohuslän, are a unique artistic achievement not only for their rich and varied motifs (depictions of humans and animals, weapons, boats and other subjects) but also for their cultural and chronological unity. They reveal the life and beliefs of people in Europe during the Bronze Age and are remarkable for their large numbers and outstanding quality.

Gravures rupestres de Tanum

Dans le nord du Bohuslän, les gravures rupestres de la commune de Tanum constituent un ensemble de toute première importance sur le plan mondial, tant par leur variété (représentations humaines et animales, armes, bateaux et autres objets) que par leur unité culturelle et chronologique. Elles illustrent, avec une abondance et une qualité remarquables, la vie et les croyances de l'âge du bronze en Europe.

النقوش الصخرية في تانوم

تقع هذه النقوش الصخرية في منطقة تانوم شمال محافظة بوهوسلان وتشكل النموذج الأكثر أهمية في العالم بفضل تنوع مواضيعها (من رسوم لبشر وحيوانات وأسلحة وسفن واغراض اخرى) والوحدة الثقافية والزمنية التي تمثلها. كما انها تجسّد بوفرة وقيمة كبيرتين الحياة والمعتقدات التي سادت في العصر البرونزي في اوروبا.

source: UNESCO/ERI

塔努姆的岩刻画

塔努姆的岩刻画位于瑞典哥德堡以北,它丰富多彩的图形(描绘人类和动物、武器、船只和其他物品),表现了它独一无二的艺术成就和文化与年代的统一。它丰富突出的作品反映了欧洲青铜器时代人们的生活和信仰。

source: UNESCO/ERI

Наскальные рельефы в Тануме

Наскальные рельефы в Тануме на севере Бохуслена – это художественный шедевр, уникальный не только благодаря разнообразию сюжетов (изображения людей и животных, оружия, лодок и др.), но также из-за их культурной и хронологической целостности. Петроглифы отражают жизнь и верования людей бронзового века в Европе, и замечательны своим большим количеством и выдающимся качеством.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Grabados rupestres de Tanum

Situada al norte de la región de Bohuslän, la localidad de Tanum posee un conjunto de petroglifos de importancia excepcional tanto por su variedad –representaciones de seres humanos, animales, armas, embarcaciones y objetos diversos– como por su unidad cultural y cronológica. Estos grabados rupestres, que son ilustrativos de la vida y las creencias de los pueblos europeos en la Edad de Bronce, destacan por su abundancia y la calidad de su factura.

source: UNESCO/ERI

タヌムの線刻画群
ノルウェーとの国境近く、オスロ湾に面した町ストレムスタートに残された岩壁彫刻、BC1000~BC500年ごろの青銅器時代のものとされる。数、種類とも豊富で、人間のほか、シカ、イヌ、ウマなどの動物、武器や船などが描かれ、先史時代のヨーロッパの人々の生活や信仰を知るうえで大切な手がかりとなっている。

source: NFUAJ

Rotstekeningen in Tanum

De rotstekeningen in Tanum bevinden zich in het noorden van Bohuslän. Dit landschap bestaat uit granietgesteente, waarvan delen werden schoon geschraapt toen de ijskap langzaam naar het noorden bewoog. Hierdoor werden licht gebogen rotswanden blootgesteld. De tekeningen op deze rotsen zijn een unieke artistieke prestatie en opmerkelijk vanwege hun grote aantallen en uitstekende kwaliteit. Ze hebben niet alleen rijke en gevarieerde afbeeldingen (mensen, dieren, wapens, boten en andere voorwerpen), maar tonen ook culturele en chronologische eenheid. Ze onthullen het leven en de overtuigingen van Europese mensen in de Bronstijd. De levendige scènes en complexe composities illustreren het alledaagse leven, oorlogsvoering, cultus en religie.

Source: unesco.nl

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Rock Carvings in Tanum © Jeffrey G3
Long Description

The range of motifs, techniques and compositions on the Tanum rock carvings provide exceptional evidence of many aspects of life in the European Bronze Age. The continuity of settlement and consistency in land use in the Tanum area, as illustrated by the rock art, the archaeological remains, and the features of the modern landscape in the Tanum region combine to make this a remarkable example of continuity over eight millennia of human history.

Northern Bohuslän is a land of granite bedrock, parts of which were scraped clean as the ice cap slowly moved northwards, leaving gently curved rock faces exposed, many of them bearing deep scratches made by rocks caught in the receding ice. These were the 'canvases' selected by the Bronze Age artists, all of them just above the shoreline of the period that began in 1500 BC, i.e. 25-29 m above today's sea level.

This rock art is unique by comparison with that in rock-art areas in other parts of Scandinavia, Europe, and the world in its outstanding artistic qualities and its varied and vivid scenic compositions of Bronze Age man. The often lively scenes and complex compositions of elaborate motifs illustrate everyday life, warfare, cult, and religion. Some of the panels were obviously planned in advance.

The landscape in which the rock carvings are situated has undergone a number of dramatic changes since the end of the Ice Age. From around 3800 BC began the introduction of agriculture and the establishment of permanent settlements. A number of Neolithic burial mounds with passage graves survive in the Bohuslän region. The funerary practice changed to burial in cist graves around 2400 BC. Around 1800 BC, when the sea was at least 15 m above its present level, the region entered the Bronze Age. Many burial mounds much higher than those in the preceding period, are to be found in Bohuslän. Bronze artefacts such as swords, spears, and axes were imported, and these figure on the rock engravings dated to this period. Cremation replaced inhumation around 1000 BC; some of the cinerary urns were placed in stone settings in the form of boats, which also figure prominently among the rock carvings.

In succeeding centuries the sea level continued to drop. This led to the emergence of large areas of land, but this coincided with deteriorating climatic conditions, and a period of hardship ensued. It was not until the beginning of the 1st millennium AD that Scandinavia resumed contact with the rest of Europe, to enter into its Golden Age from AD 400 to the end of the Viking period. It was this period which saw the Bohuslän landscape assume its present form and features.

The carvings were executed by scratching an outline, pecking and grinding the rock to break the surface and remove rock dust, and then grinding to the depth required, using stone hammers and points. Surviving engravings may be as little as 1 mm deep or as much as 30 mm or even 40 mm. It is suggested that the more deeply engraved figures were of greater symbolic significance and therefore required to be visible to larger gatherings of people. There are at least 1,500 known rock-carving sites in Northern Bohuslän, each with a number of images, but new examples are regularly coming to light as research continues. They are concentrated in certain areas: for example, the parish of Tanum has over 360 recorded sites. There is a rich variety in the images, 13 categories of which have been identified: cup marks, discs, circles and wheels; boats, ships and sledges; animals; humans; hands; foot-soles and feet; wheeled vehicles; primitive ploughs; nets, traps and mazes; trees; weapons and other equipment; and other images.

There have been many interpretations of the significance of these carvings since research began on them in the late 18th century. At the present, the generally accepted explanation is that they are examples of primitive symbolic art, with its two facets. On the one hand they are expressions of instrumental art, demonstrating the order of life and the pattern of existence (weapons, wagons, animals, humans) and on the other of transcendental art, concerned with the other world and the unknown (distorted animals and humans, disembodied hands).

Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC
Historical Description

The landscape in which the rock carvings are situated has undergone a number of dramatic changes since the end of the Ice Age. The land began to rise some 10,000 years ago, but at the same time the melting of the ice cap caused the sea level to rise, so there have been successive periods of inundation and uplifting, combined with marked climatic fluctuations. Human occupation began in the Mesolithic period (90004000 BC).

From around 3800 BC the economy changed, with the introduction of agriculture and the establishment of permanent settlements. A number of Neolithic burial mounds with passage graves survive in the Bohushin region. The funerary practice changed to burial in cist graves c. 2400 BC.

Around 1800 BC, when the sea level was at least 15 m above its present level, the region entered the Bronze Age. Many burial mounds, much higher than those in the preceding period, are to be found in Bohuslan. Bronze artefacts such as swords, spears, and axes were imported, and these figure on the rock engravings dated to this period.

Cremation replaced inhumation around 1000 BC; some of the cinerary urns were placed in stone settings in the form of boats, which also figure prominently among the rock carvings. Analysis of the representations on the engraved stones and comparison with other cultural material of the period, such as weapons, tools, boats, etc. shows that this was the heyday of rock art; very little can be securely dated either earlier or later than the Bronze Age (1800-500 BC).

In succeeding centuries the sea level continued to drop, so that by 500 BC it was only 4 m above its present level. This led to the emergence of large areas of land, but this coincided with deteriorating climatic conditions, and a period of hardship ensued. It was not until the beginning of the 1st millennium AD that Scandinavia resumed contact with the rest of Europe, to enter into its Golden Age from ADS 400 to the end of the Viking period. It was this period which saw the Bohushin landscape assume its present form and features.

Source: Advisory Body Evaluation