Amtmannsnes is one of five rock art sites in Alta on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The figures are quite unique and differ from all other rock art that it is natural to compare with.

Human figure at Amtmannsnes Photo: Karin Tansem

The first figures on Amtmannsnes were discovered by local residents in 1977. Today five sites have been registered with 5-600 figures in all. The rock surfaces are badly eroded, which makes any documentation difficult and somewhat uncertain. Amtmannsnes is a low headland on the north-east side of the Komsa mountain at the head of the Altafjord. The highest point is only 25 metres above sea level. In other words, the whole of the headland was still under water when the first figures were carved at Hjemmeluft and Kåfjord. But gradually, as the land rose, the new, gently sloping surfaces that came to light were made use of for rock carving. Today, the sites are 14-17 metres above sea level and can be dated to phase 3 (c.5000-4000 years ago). In phase 3, Amtmannsnes and Storsteinen were the most important sites for rock carving in Alta, in contrast with the two oldest stages where the greatest concentration of rock art was further west at the head of the fjord, at Hjemmeluft and Kåfjord. The carvings at Amtmannsnes mostly depict human-like figures, reindeer and various patterns/zig-zag lines, but also other types of animals and figures. Close to the rock art sites other traces of human activity have been found such as stone tools and the remains of the tool production.