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Rock carvings at Alta

The rock carvings in Alta were placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List on 3 December 1985. This list comprises sites that are considered to have particularly great national and international value. This is the only prehistoric site among the four Norwegian sites on the list.

The first rock carvings were discovered here in autumn 1972. About 4000 have so far been recognised. They are dispersed on approximately 60 panels in four separate areas in Alta. The largest is at Hjemmeluft/Jiepmaluokta, where Alta Museum is situated. This is the only area that has facilities for the public.

The rock carvings in Alta are between 6200 and 2000 years old. They were made by people who lived by hunting and fishing. They depict some of the beliefs held by these people and the rituals they practised. They were probably elements in myths and stories about the worlds inhabited by the people and the spirits. Through the wildlife depicted (reindeer, elk, bears, dogs and/or wolves, foxes, hares, geese, ducks, swans, cormorants, halibut, salmon and whales), the carvings also provide information about the environment and resources of this population. They also depict people, boats, hunting, trapping and fishing scenes, as well as people taking part in dances and ritual acts.