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World heritage rock carvings in Tanum - a prehistoric treasure

Hand som känner på hällristningar på Aspeberget.

All over the world people have carved and painted on rocks and in caves. The images were hammered into the rock using pounding stones, about 3000 years ago during the Bronze Age. This pictorial treasure is so rich in content and so distinctive that it is among the world’s cultural heritages on the Unesco World Heritage List.

The rock-carving area at Tanum was included in the World Heritage List in 1994, as the fifth Swedish contribution. This is the World Heritage Committee’s citation:

The rock carvings in the Tanum area are a unique example of Bronze Age art of the highest quality. The range of motifs provides rare evidence of many aspects of life in the European Bronze Age. The interplay of continuous settlement and land use, as reflected in the rock carvings, the burial grounds and the landscape, make the Tanum area an outstanding example of uninterrupted settlement for eight thousand years.


Tanum’s rock carvings have been considered of national interest for a long time and been an important part of the cultural history of the Tanum area and Bohuslän as a whole. But with the admission of the 45 sq. km. area around the Tanum plain to the Unesco World Heritage list the area is seen not only as of value to us in Bohuslän and in Sweden but also to us as world citizens and as human beings. Tanum has become a matter for the whole international community.

600 rock carving sities

Within the World Heritage area there are approximately 600 rock-carving sites, together containing tens of thousands of images. Four of the sites are provided with parking facilities, footpaths and information boards: Vitlycke, Aspeberget, Litsleby and Fossum. Litsleby is also adapted for wheelchair users and has a tactile information panel.

A map of the World Heritage Area can be downloaded as i pdf-file (1 Mb).

rock carvings view from abowe.

The vitlycke carvings

The most frequently visited of the rock art sites in the Tanum World Heritage area is the Vitlycke panel, which lies 300 m from the museum. Here you will find among other things Bohuslän’s most famous carving – the Bridal Couple also called the Holy wedding.

fossum rock carvings view from drone.

The carvings at Fossum

Fossum is a visitor area located in the northeast corner of Tanum's World Heritage Site, approximately 5.2 kilometers from Vitlycke Museum. This rock carving site is very dense; the small rock surface is packed with images. Here, the Fossum Woman is surrounded by warriors, musicians, dancers, hunters, deers and dogs.

rock carving with the large spear good.

The rock carvings at Litsleyby

The carving at Litsleby is located 2 kilometers south of Vitlycke Museum. The rock is dominated by a 2.3-meter-long warrior, known as the Spear God. Access to the rock carvings is easy here. It is close between the bus parking and the carvings, and there are ramps for walkers, wheelchairs, prams, as well as information for the visually impaired.

drone viem of aspeberget rock carvings.

The rock carvings area of Aspeberget

Aspeberget is located 700 meters south of Vitlycke Museum. Here, there is a large rock with, among other things, images of bulls, warriors, and ships. Additionally, there is a walking trail on the mountain leading up to the summit. From the top, you'll have a stunning view of the World Heritage Site.

woman reading the signs.

Skäddö - Tanum World Heritage rest stop

Visit Skräddö in the Tanum World Heritage site for a unique resting stop experience with the opportunity for picnics, restrooms, an exciting exhibition about the World Heritage site, and a fantastic view of the landscape.

sotetorp rock carving ship and voltiguer.

World Heritage walks

This is a 6 km path that takes you to three different places with exciting rock carvings: Lövåsen with its shaman, the Gerum panel with the flying swing and Sotetorp with ships full of people doing backward somersaults.

Updated: 2024-02-15 11:42