2 weeks ago
I have been to this site before but since I was at Hemsta I had to come back! The rock face is 19 meters in diameter, covered with 51 ships, 115 foot prints (58 are in pairs), 18 rings, 6 human figures, 2 animal figures, 6 indeterminable figures, 15 fragmented figures and 94 cup marks (skålgropar). Not all of the figures have been painted in with red. The most famous figure here is called "stolen i Rickeby" (The Chair in Rickeby), which in older times thought to be a chair. Now it is believed to be a depiction of some kind of garment/clothing. It could be a female dress because there are five female figures with wide hips depicted next to it. The measurements and shape are reminiscent of clothing found in Danish Bronze Age burials. This type of garment would have been part of every Bronze Age woman's wardrobe. It is the only petroglyph of this type ever found.
The many footprints are depicted both with bare feet and others with shoes. They all face towards the bottom of the rock-face. Some experts believe that they are symbolic footprints of gods who were not allowed to be depicted. They could also be used for purely human rituals like for weddings. The ships range from 27-188cm in length and many have their crew depicted with lines. They have no sail or mast because in the Bronze Age ships were powered by oars. One some you can see the distinctive prow that in millennia during the Viking Age evolved into the dragon headed prows that everyone knows. They are believed to be symbolic for the journey into the afterlife, ships as the vessels of the dead are used in many cultures around the world. Cup marks are the most common type of petroglyph and it is still a mystery what their function was. They may have been to mark someone's precense or used a a ritual and spiritual symbol for fertility. Others believe grain was ritually ground in them or they were filled with blood from a sacrifice. The ring figures could be symbols of the sun, some with a cross in them. Some rings have a footprint in them, for me it is all very confusing and we may never know what it all means.