The rock carving field at Ausevik is located on a smooth rock facing the east, containing more than 350 registered and studied single figures. The main motif is deer, found on about 100 figures. In addition, there are a number of figures depicting people, other animals and plants, such as dogs, wolves, fish, birds, and trees. The more than 120 remaining figures have abstract motifs, such as spirals, hollows, concentric circles, line patterns, as well as other geometrical figures.
Ausevik was "discovered"
The first person to make a scientific study of the field was Johannes Bøe, an employee at the Bergen Museum. In 1932, he published a treatise on the Vingen field which was reported in the local paper. In this connection, Tor Grønevik from Ausevik wrote a letter to Bøe that "something similar was carved into the rock on a field here". Bøe went to Ausevik in 1934 and carried out a comprehensive study. At that time the field was rather overgrown with vegetation. Bøe found several figures under the turf layer, but the rock was frequently of such a porous quality that there was a danger of damaging the rock carvings if they were uncovered. In the 1950s, he returned to the location, but he found that many of the figures had been damaged in the meantime.
Room for various interpretations
Later the Ausevik field has been studied by a number of archaeologists, and they have often come up with different interpretations. Anders Hagen, who carried out a thorough study between 1963 and 1966, wrote a book on the field. In his opinion, hunting is an important theme in the figures, but he also points out that the extensive use of symbols is an indication of a complex mythology. Egil Bakka underlines the sexual motif, such as figures that may resemble female genitalia and a picture of a possible sexual intercourse with animals. According to Gro Mandt, the field may have been a sacred site and a cult site for the district.
Rock art in a transitional phase
The interpretation of the Ausevik rock carvings is a decisive factor in dating the field. Normally a distinction is made between nomadic/hunting art and agricultural art. Whereas a number of archaeologists look upon the field as pure nomadic art, Anders Hagen and Eva M. Walderhaug think that traces of agricultural culture and hunting culture can be found in the pictures. Hagen dates the field to approx 1800 - 1500 BC, whereas Walderhaug, who sees this field in connection with the Vingen field, is of the opinion that the Ausevik may be even older.