What are Petroglyphs? 3,000-Year-Old Bronze-Age Petroglyphs Found in Sweden

Around a hundred breath taking petroglyphs have been discovered in Sweden over the years, with Enkoping in Uppsala County north of Stockholm being ranked as the one of the country's most petroglyph-dense area.

The petroglyphs of about 60 ships stand out as it dates back 3,000 years to the Bronze-Age. The rock carvings are unusually numerous and deep. There are about 100 figures carved on an arable hill south of the town of Enkoping. The carvings are believed to have been done at a time when the sea level reached here.

Sven Gunnar Brostrom, an archaeologist and petroglyph hunter, found the carvings which were hidden from the outside world under a blanket of earth and stone. He said finding petroglyphs like this is something one dreams about. Brostom believes this area was located at the shoreline during the Bronze Age wherein boats and canoes were the primary means of transportation.


Petroglyhs are Rock Carvings

Petroglyhs have been found in various civilizations from Egyptians and Mayans to the Vikings and Aborigines, throughout the world. Its rock carvings achieved by pecking directly onto the rock with a stone chisel and a hammerstone. These rock carvings or petroglyhs are also called rock art, man-made markings on natural stone. Archaeologists regard this as a global phenomenon that spans thousands of years, divergent cultures and entire continents.

The petroglyhs offer insight into the symbols, religions, belief systems, figurative art of past cultures, and way of life. Sweden is home to the largest concentration of Bronze-Age rock carvings in all of Scandinavia.

Jonas Svensson Hennius, an archaeologist with the Uppsala county board, intends to document the petroglyhs. The board is also looking at covering it up for conservation purpose. Hennius explained that this is done since the rock carvings are located in the midst of a cultivated landscape filled with field crops. There is the risk of rock becoming sensitive and crumbling away.

Tanum Petroglyph

Similar petroglyhs can be found in Tanum, in the northwest of Vastra Gotalands Ian county in southwestern Sweden. It also dates back to the Nordic Bronze Age – that is, around 3,000 years ago.