Archive contents

Here you can read more about the contents of the archive, how it is structured and restrictions on public availability.

Collecting and registering

Collecting and registering all documentation relevant to the Rock Art of Alta is a significant and ambitious task which takes time. It often takes more time than we would prefer. Most of the rock art in Alta was discovered in the 1970s, except for the rock paintings in Transfarelv which had already been known for some time before this. The total amount of rock art documentation, management documents, scientific publications, media coverage and other documents that has been produced since then by management officials and other parties is still not completely identified. Thus the historical contents of the archive is far from complete.

Furthermore, additional materials which is relevant to the Alta Rock Art Archive is produced at an increasing rate every year. Thus the Alta Rock Art Archive is a living archive where new material are continuously being added. As of April 2017 the digital part of the archive consisted of more than 18 000 registered files. An overwhelming majority of these files was made up of rock art documentation, particularly photographs. Pictures will most likely always dominate the digital archive contents but the amount of text documents will probably grow over time.


Large amounts of the Alta Rock Art Archive contents is publicly available online, but not all. There are several reasons why some documents cannot be made publicly available. For copyright-protected materials created by others, we will often not have the necessary permissions for publishing these freely online. It may be that a document contains information which according to Norwegian law cannot be published online. As a general rule we do not make documents publicly available if they contain private information about named persons.

If you are interested in accessing more material or information than which is already available online, you can send such requests to Alta Museum.

Organizing the archive contents

The contents of the Alta Rock Art Archive is organized according to several themes. The most central themes are available as keyword-menus in the archive-application for searching. Every theme is not necessarily relevant for all registered files.

The document menu contains keyword-categories for the many types of documentation that is available in the archive. For example, there are several sub-categories for different types of photos in the Archive.

The rock art panels menu serves as reference to which rock art locations in Alta that the registered files are connected with. The rock art panels in Alta generally also belong to larger rock art sites and geographic areas. Text documents in the  archive often don’t refer to any specific rock art panel but rather to a site or an area. Also there are documents in the archive that don’t refer to any specified panel, site or area.

The figures menu mainly pertains to the many pictures of the rock art in the archive. The keyword-categories in the menu is used for sorting the rock art documentation according to what type of figures that appear in the pictures. The most detailed categories are first of all applied to close-ups of figures.