Friday, May 10, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Friday, May 10, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Sweden’s unique rock carvings

Published 25 April 2024
- By Editorial Staff
There are many theories as to the meaning of the enigmatic carvings.

The Släbro carvings stand out from other rock carvings because of their extremely unusual motifs. The so-called frame figures consist of three-dimensional rings or squares with dots or lines that have not yet been deciphered.

It was not until 1984 that the so-called Släbro carvings were discovered on the outskirts of Nyköping in Sörmland. In what has become known as Släbroparken, there are 434 figures and 262 bowl-shaped pits scattered on five rocks.

Rock carvings are not uncommon in Sweden and can be found in every county. However, these particular rock carvings are unique not only in Sweden, but also in the rest of the world.

Usually the carvings depict, for example, ships, people, animals and the soles of feet, a pattern that the Släbro carvings do not follow. Most of the figures consist of a frame, which is a ring or square, with a pattern of either dots or lines inside. Many of the so-called frame figures are three-dimensional and have been tapped on a surface that has been worked to fit the shape. Some figures also have details that resemble body parts and heads that look like a person with arms raised. There are also bowl pits and wheel crosses on the rocks in the park, but no depictions of ships, animals, or weapons.

It is unclear how old the motifs are, but it is thought that they are older than the more common rock carvings and may have been created about 4000 years ago. Most rock carvings are usually dated to the Bronze Age, about 3000 years ago. However, there are theories that they could be from the Iron Age, which is younger.

What the numbers mean is still unclear. There are several theories, and there has been an idea that it could be some kind of calendar, but this has not been developed.

Photo: Sören Eriksson/CC BY-SA 3.0

Another theory is that the carvings are representations of people’s insides, rather than their outsides, as is often the case. The figures are also reminiscent of a kind of “construction kit,” where one could imagine that different combinations of a number of predetermined parts are used. The theory is that by adding or removing different parts, people of the time could represent different aspects of human nature.

Another theory is that the “people” in question are some kind of leader or spiritual shaman. Another possibility is that it has some sort of divine motif.

The carvings can be seen in Släbroparken in Oppeby, on the outskirts of Nyköping.

Facts: Rock carvings

The Swedish term for rock carvings is "hällristning", "häll" being an Old Norse word for a smooth, flat stone or rock. Despite the name, researchers believe that petroglyphs are not carved, but chiseled. When you visit a site with petroglyphs, they are often red, but this is not the original color, but something that researchers have painted on them to make them easier to identify. However, it is somewhat unclear whether they were painted or simply carved when they were created. Most researchers believe that the rock carvings in Scandinavia were not painted.

Source: Världens historia

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