Palaeoecological analysis of peat deposits from a small bog at Lingarden, southern Sweden, have been used to examine the nature and timing of vegetation changes and anthropogenic activity associated with a nearby rock carving located close to the edge of the wetland. This study is the first of its type to investigate the environmental context of rock carvings in southern Sweden. Debate has tended to focus on chronology and iconography, with little consideration of the environmental relationships of rock carvings and how vegetation may help construct a site within its surrounding landscape. The pollen evidence from Lingarden demonstrates that the rock carving was located in an isolated semi-wooded setting during the late Bronze Age. This is in stark contrast to several other pollen studies from the Bjare Peninsula that record widespread woodland clearance and agricultural activity from the late Neolithic Bronze Age transition. The results of this study support hypotheses that suggest complex rock carvings, such as Lingarden, were separated from settled areas. This sense of separation and isolation is reinforced by the vegetation surrounding the rock carving. This paper also discusses the relationship between charcoal in the pollen sequence and evidence that the decorated outcrop had been burnt. (c) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.