Finnish rock paintings have been dated 5000 – 1500 BC while Finland still lived stone-age. Ceramic decorated with a comb-like tool was typical. According to these the period is called Camb Ware. Agriculture was not known. People gathered, hunted and fished their food.

Rock paintings are painted on cliffs with red ocre. The most common figure is a human. Typically a frontal figure with bended knees. The most common animal is an elk. Elk is painted in many different styles and in many sizes. For example snakes and fish are painted as well. Straight or bended horizontal lines with shorter vertical lines are interpreted as boats and the crew. The figure is also explained as antlers. At times a painted hand or a paw has been pressed to the cliff or red paint is spread to a large area. The strongest colour is often in these figureless red areas.

The motifs of the paintings are usually interpreted from religious or mytholigical basis. Hints for the interpretations have been searched from the tradition and mythology of the later northern native people. According to the latest researches the best hypothesis in interpretating Finnish Rock Art, their motifs and environment, is shamanism practiced by northern hunter-gatherers (Lahelma 2008).

Rock paintings are painted to cliffs next to the water. A vertical cliff has protected the paintings. Transparent silicon oxide flown from the rock has formed a protective cover over the figures. Time has changed the places. The water level has usually falled. Paintings are left high above the water or the whole cliff is left in the forest when the water escaped. Summer cottages have been builded next to the holy places. An eletric power line goes above the cliff. But there is still a sense of holyness in many of the places.


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