Rock Art of Alta

Rock Art of Alta

The Rock art of Alta (Helleristningene i Alta) are located in and around the municipality of Alta in the county of Finnmark in northern Norway. Since the first carvings were discovered in 1972, more than 6000 carvings have been found on several sites around Alta. The largest locality, at Jiepmaluokta about 4 kilometres outside of Alta, contains many thousand individual carvings and has been turned into an open-air museum. The site, along with the sites Storsteinen, Kåfjord, Amtmannsnes and Transfarelv, was placed on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites on 3 December 1985. It is Norway’s only prehistoric World Heritage Site.

The carvings were divided into four separate groups by Knut Helskog. Using shoreline dating, the earliest carvings were dated to around 4200 BC; the most recent carvings were dated to around 500 BC. In 2010 researcher Jan Magne Gjerde pushed the dates for the oldest phases back with 1000 years. The wide variety of imagery shows a culture of hunter-gatherers that was able to control herds of reindeer, was adept at boat building and fishing and practiced shamanistic rituals involving bear worship and other venerated animals.

Outline
The Rock art of Alta (Helleristningene i Alta) are located in and around the municipality of Alta in the county of Finnmark in northern Norway.

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