Cultural History Encyclopedia

More information about this article

More information about this article

Published 07. July 1999

Last update 04. June 2019

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The rock carvings at the point of Staveneset in Askvoll



On the weather-exposed Staveneset, one of the westernmost points on mainland Norway, we find ancient traces of human activities.

Most rock carvings at Staveneset depict ships and boats, but there is also a wagon with a team of two horses, with a driver. The other motifs represent people, animals, weapons, wagons, and rings.

Most rock carvings at Staveneset depict ships and boats, but there is also a wagon with a team of two horses, with a driver. The other motifs represent people, animals, weapons, wagons, and rings.

Owner: Forlaget Skald AS.

Date: 1999.

Photographer: Leif Grane.

Sea lane for thousands of years

Past the point of Staveneset by the Stongfjorden boats and ships have passed since times immemorial. Traces have been found indicating that this boat traffic dates back at least three thousand years. On the farms of Mjåset and Unneset there is a total of 11 areas of petroglyphs from the Bronze Age (about 1800 - 500 BC), predominantly with boat motifs. Most of these are concentrated close to the sea at the tip of the point, whereas two smaller areas are located further inland.

Cult site or settlement?

In addition to the boat motifs, there is a group of figures which is quite different from other rock carvings in the west of Norway - representations of two horses hitched to a two-wheeled wagon with a driver. There are also widespread motifs such as people, animals, weapons, wagons, and rings.

A common interpretation of these figures is that this has been a holy site where religious gatherings have taken place and other solemn ceremonies have been carried out. The question may be raised whether these rites have been carried out by permanent settlers or by passers-by. In other parts of Askvoll or elsewhere in the region of Sunnfjord there are few finds from the Bronze Age. According to one theory, this means that nomadic tribes have moved out to the coastal areas at certain times of the year from areas in Sogn where such rock carvings are more common.

Recent finds, but easily accessible

The first rock carvings in this area were registered as late as in 1943, and new finds were made up until the 1980s. Then information boards and signposts were set up to help people find the rock-carving locations. The areas are all located close to the county road in an easy terrain.

See geometric position on detailed map at Fylkesatlas or on a 3D-map at Google Maps by clicking on the 3D-button down to the right at the Google-map.

resources:

Mandt, Gro: Helleristningene i Askvoll. Brosjyre.
Losnegård, Gaute og Rolf, og Rivedal, Henning: Dalsfjordboka. Leikanger 1999.

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