Rock art sites

Rock art sites

Alta has the largest concentration of rock art made by hunter-gatherers in northern Europe. The rock art comprises both rock carvings and rock paintings made from 7000 to 2000 years ago. The rock art in Hjemmeluft, Kåfjord, Transfarelv, Storsteinen and Amtmannsnes was inscribed into the UNESCO’s World Heritage List, but the rock art at Isnestoften, Kråknes, Svartskog and Komsa is not on the list. All the rock art in Alta is under open skies.

The first find of rock art in Alta municipality was made  about 70 years ago. It was the so-called "Pippistein" (Pippistone), which was found near Isnestoften on the west side of the Altafjord. The next find was the rock paintings at Transfarelv, which was reported to Tromsø Museum in 1966. During the course of the 1970s a large number of rock carving sites came to light at the head of the Altafjord. All four of the rock carving sites on the World Heritage List were discovered during the 70s (in 1973, 1977 and 1978). The first finds in all of these areas were made quite by chance by private individuals. In each of the world heritage areas, many new sites and/or figures have been discovered through the years, a process that seems never ending. 

Outside the world heritage areas, however, it is only in the latter years that new rock art has been found since the discovery of "Pippisteinen". In 1998 yet another stone with rock carvings was found at Isnestoften, but this time at the islet Langnesholmen. Ten years later, in 2008, three more rock carving sites were found on this little islet. In connection with the registering of cultural monuments in the area of Komsa in the year 2000, another site with rock paintings was discovered. In 2016 two new rock art sites was discovered - one rock painting site at Kråknes and one rock carving site at Svartskog. All of these finds were made after the rock art in Alta was inscribed into the UNESCO's World Heritage List, and are therefore not included in the list.