May 29, 2023


Digital Art Community

Rock Art – the Petroglyphs at Nämforsen in northern Sweden

In a valley in Ångermanälven in northern Sweden carved onto the rocks by some rapids is one of Europe’s largest collections of rock-carvings.

The petroglyphs at Nämforsen comprise of over 2000 carvings dating back 6000 years. Here there are hundreds of carvings of elks, warriors and viking boats in terracotta red, all perfectly preserved.

The most amazing thing about seeing these ancient carvings is the fact that you can get so close to them. The walkways run alongside them, so they are almost within touching distance.

Nowadays Nämforsen is the setting for the annual Swedish folk and world music festival Urkult. At the beginning of August thousands descend on this little village to attend the festival. Many of the festival goers also venture down to the rapid rocks for a morning swim.

We didn’t quite make it into the water, but sat by the rocks and enjoyed the view and the sunny weather.

While I sat looking thoughtfully into the distance, I became completely relaxed and calm, enjoying the feeling of total tranquillity. After a few minutes, however, it dawned on me that it was not the hypnotic sound of the rapids and the stunning view which was helping me to zone out, but the very strong whiff of cannabis. The pungent smell, evocative of music festivals and parties of yesteryear, was coupled with a very very strange musical sound.

Then I spotted him – just below me on another rock was sitting a bearded chap, dressed in a heck of a lot of natural fibres, too much for a sunny day I thought. He was alternating the smoking of a huge joint with the playing of a old-fashioned wind instrument. I started to feel a little peckish and realised I may be in danger of getting inadvertently high.

Being a 46-year-old-mother-of-three and a responsible person nowadays, I decided it was time to go. I left the petroglyphs of Nämforsen to the hippy guy, playing his flute and smoking a cheroot.

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