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UNESCO

Stunning prehistoric elk carving found in Norway

A set of 7,000-year old rock carvings have been found deep inside the Arctic Circle in a sensational discovery that is being compared to the Unesco-protected Alta petroglyphs found 40 years ago.

Stunning prehistoric elk carving found in Norway
A carving of an elk (or is it a reindeer?) found last Monday. Photo: Tromsø Museum
Erik Kjellman found the carvings of elk and reindeer last Monday as he was doing field work at Tømmerneset, just outside Kirkenes on Norway’s Northeastern border with Russia. 
 
“I am 29 years old and can not really retire now. I will never be involved in anything like this again. It is unique in an archaeological context,” he told Norway’s NRK channel. 
 
He said that he had stumbled on the carvings while travelling between two separate digs run by Tromsø University. 
 
“It was quite by chance that I went past the place at a time when the light made it possible to to glimpse a petroglyph,” he told the channel. 
 
The rock carvings in Alta, a six hour drive west of where the latest carvings were found, were discovered in 1973 by Professor Knut Helskog from the University of Tromsø. 
 
They was placed on the Unesco list of World Heritage Sites in 1985, becoming Norway’s only prehistoric World Heritage Site. 
 
Tømmerneset was being surveyed by the archeologist as part of preparations for a major oil and gas development in the area, but Kjellman said he saw little reason why protecting his find would cause delay or block the scheme.
 
 Here is a picture of Kjellman (right) next to his find. 
 

UNESCO

Sewage washes ashore at Norway’s prehistoric World Heritage site

Faeces, toilet paper, wet wipes and cotton earbuds were among the sewage littered around the UNESCO site of the pre-historic rock art in Alta, northern Norway.

Sewage washes ashore at Norway's prehistoric World Heritage site
Prehistoric rock art at Alta, Norway.Andrew Arch/Flickr

The waste at the site of the petroglyphs, or rock carvings in the Alta Fjord, near the Arctic circle was discovered during a beach cleaning day.

“When we followed the path down, we quickly saw that something was wrong. When we looked a little closer, we saw that were was faeces, wet wipes, Q-tips and tampons there,” Line Mårvik Pettersen told state broadcaster NRK.

“It didn’t smell. So, it clearly had been there for a while,” She added.

The sewage was lodged in seaweed that washed ashore.

There was a similar problem in 2011 when a sewage pipe in the same area became clogged; it is unclear what the cause of the problem is this time around.

“So far, we have not received clarity as to what the reason is,” Magne Opgåard said.

READ ALSO: Europe’s highest sea cliff amongst beauty spots which could become Norway’s new national parks 

The rock carvings date back to between 2,000 and 7,000 years ago and represent the only prehistoric monument in Norway. 

They were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985. The World Heritage site consists of four areas in Alta with petroglyphs. These are Hjemmeluft, Kåfjord and Amtamannsnes and Stortstein.

“We are a world heritage area, and our world heritage is one of the most beautiful things we have. This is Alta’s face to the outside world, so it’s clear that it’s very unfortunate that you get sewage washing up in such a nice area,” Anita Taipo, department head at the Alta Museum, said.

“Had this happened in the middle of the season in 2019, where we have up to 1,000 visitors in one day, it is clear that it would not have been fun to show this,” she added.

Work is underway in Alta to clear the roads of snow so the equipment needed to investigate the problem can be transported to the site.

The municipality will then clear up the affected areas.

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