Welcome to a new contributor to the archive series, Annika Perry with a post about a visit to the Vitlycke Rock Carvings in Sweden where 4000 year old images adorn the rock faces offering a glimpse into an ancient culture.
The purpose of this series is to encourage you to head over and follow Annika’s blog and check out her more recent posts.. I hope you will do so.
The 4,000 year old story by Annika Perry
Hasn’t mankind always had a desire to tell a story? To tell their story?
The thought struck me as early one Friday morning during Easter as my son and I visited Vitlycke Rock Carvings in Sweden. It’s not often you have a World Heritage Site all to yourselves and in quiet reverence we strolled amongst the 4,000-year-old rock carvings.
As if bleary from sleep, the sun hung low in the sky, its light dancing between the trees, the dew on the grass shimmering in sparkles of delight. Slowly we approached the biggest rock panel which alone bears over 500 images.
The creative force of the images struck me first. They were full of passion; with brute strength telling the story of their lives. Of gods, hunting, fishing, ships. Of people and animals. Of men and women. Of war and battle. The artistic images rendered vibrant and more visible by the red coloured paint.
In the silence, we felt we had stumbled upon a sacred site, the atmosphere spiritually ladened. The vivacious animated figures were ready for action and seemingly about to leave their two-dimensional existence and enter the realm of 3-D. I imagined a flotilla of boats sailing away across the seas.
On my first visit many years ago the ship images had bemused me as from the hill the sea was not visible, being miles away. However, a plaque quickly explained that in the Bronze Age the water level was 15 m higher. Below us, where the car was parked, where the visitors centre was built, would all have been under water.
One particular image of a man is over 2 m long and is the largest petroglyph in the area. Is it a portrait of a local chieftain I wondered? I read the plaque which states this is an image of the god Odin.
With determination and care the people of the Bronze Age wanted to leave their mark – literally! They wanted to leave us their story for future generations. These petroglyphs are a testament to their success, to the power of their story.
Certain images are still enigmas, argued over by university scholars and school pupils. That is the joy of them as well. What is the meaning of the 30,000 or so ‘cup’ marks visible across the county? One set here has a line of them, reaching down and then ceasing in a circle of ‘cup’ marks. Is it fertility symbols, as declared by scholars? Or at times I like to imagine a group of children, not yet capable of drawing the more detailed images, ‘doodling’ on the rocks.
The magical mystical morning ends with a quiet picnic of contemplation overlooking some of the rock carvings. The people from the Bronze Age beat their story into solid granite, stories which survived four millenniums. Will our forms of story telling live on into eternity?
Wishing you all a lovely day; may the sun shine brightly and breeze blow gently.
“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” Philip Pullman
©Images Annika Perry. 2015
Thanks to Annika for this wonderful contribution. It looks like we may never understand the symbols completely but as prompts for the imaginations of children and scholars alike, it is amazing.
About Annika Perry
Although writing has always been a lifetime passion for Annika, her route to full-time writing has been circuitous and she formerly worked within journalism and the timber trade before severe illness and motherhood gave her an opportunity to pursue her dream.
Annika’s First Prize win in the ‘Writing Magazine’ short story competition was the much needed impetus and confidence booster for her to complete the first novel, ‘Island Girl’, which is currently in the final editing stages. Annika is also working on the last edits of her first short story collection which she hopes to publish this year.
As well as writing, Annika is an avid reader (a world without books is unimaginable for her), a keen gardener, walker and she enjoys travel (in spite of her well-documented fear of flying!)
For the past two years blogging has become an important part of her life and she deeply values the friendships formed here on WP via the warm encouraging and uplifting comments. She lives in the South East of England with her husband and teenage son.
Connect to Annika
I am now looking for archive posts for the festive season.. short stories fiction and non-fiction, food and recipes, humour, memorable Christmas’s etc. Please send one or two posts to firstname.lastname@example.org.. I will be resuming the regular archive series in the New Year. Thanks Sally.