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The Tanum World Heritage - a  prehistoric treasure

Hand touching a rock art boat.

All over the world people have carved and painted on rocks and in caves. Here at Tanum people from the Bronze Age have carved thousands of images into the smooth rocks of the landscape. 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.

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).

Updated: 2018-05-14 12:30