Rock Art of Alta

Published by the Directorate for Cultural Heritage Lag rapport Les på norsk

The Rock Art of Alta are the largest known collection of rock carvings in Northern Europe made by hunter-gatherers. The first carvings were uncovered in 1973. They are between 6200 and 2000 years old.

Inscribed on World Heritage List in 1985

The Rock Art of Alta were inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1985. What make the rock carvings in Alta so unique is that they are so varied and include so many different figures. At the four uncovered fields there are more than 5000 figures.

The most common pictures are of animals, especially reindeer and moose. But there are other animals such as bear, birds and fish, often there are objects such as fishing nets, spears and boats, as well as people in a variety of activities.

Many of the figures display high artistic quality, and are very well preserved. They were made by people who lived by hunting, gathering and fishing. Most of the figures are relatively small, between 20 and 40 cm high. Some of them are relatively naturalistic; others are more geometric and stylised.