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Ancient paintings of Finland
Tuesday 19 May 2020

An article on atlasobscura.com - Astuvansalmi Rock Paintings - reports on the rock art of Hirssaari in Finland. These 5,000-year-old paintings provide a glimpse into prehistoric Finnish life.

Astuvansalmi Rock Paintings rock art Hirssaari Finland prehistoric Finnish
Astuvansalmi prehistoric rock paintings (left) in Finland. Image: Ohto Kokko. Depiction of a moose (right) with internal marking. Image: Xanara.

For as long as humans have existed, art has been crafted in various forms and for various reasons. From bone and wood carvings to paintings and petroglyphs, these remnants are sometimes our only insight into the lives of these ancient cultures. Unfortunately, many of these places have faded over the years, especially across Europe where the wet climate is an enemy of preservation efforts. Those that do survive are priceless windows into the past.

Article continues below
Article continues

Not far from the shores of Lake Yövesi is one such place. A large collection of over 70 paintings from over five millennia ago still adorn various rocks. Archaeologists believe that the location is a shamanistic ritual site, where hunting rituals were depicted to guarantee future hunts remained fruitful.

Astuvansalmi Rock Paintings rock art Hirssaari Finland prehistoric Finnish
A panel (left) of paintings. A depiction of a woman (right) hunting. Images: Ohto Kokko.

The site contains roughly 20 images of moose, around nine boats, several hands, animal tracks, and about 20 people in various stances. There also appear to be a few dogs and fish depicted. The paintings focus mostly on the moose, with a few containing dots near their hearts. Note also the painting of a woman hunting.

Click here for Rock Paintings in Finland by Ismo Luukkonen

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