Hunting stories in Scandinavian rock art: Aspects of "tellability" in the North vs. the South

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Scandinavian petroglyphs have given rise to vivid interpretations, often related to Old Norse religion and Indo‐European mythology. However, we still do not know if, how or to what extent these images are really telling stories. In this paper, we shall analyse the ways in which Scandinavian northern and southern traditions (in Alta, Northern Norway and in Norrköping, Middle Sweden, respectively) depict hunting narratives. While the northern tradition may render several phases and procedural aspects of the hunt, the southern one tends to be more focused on the killing itself, or the confrontational aspects of the hunt.

A preliminary observation is that the scenes differ in ways that reflect not only different hunting traditions, but also imply different foci of interest. Put in another way, they emphasize different aspects of the hunting activity itself, of what is relevant, worth telling, or ‘tellable’.


External organisations
  • Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research
  • Linnaeus University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Archaeology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)228-246
Number of pages18
JournalOxford Journal of Archaeology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jul 17
Publication categoryResearch