Bronze Age Artwork in Scandinavia

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As there were still no written records in Scandinavia by the Nordic Bronze Age (1800 – 500 BC), we can only guess at the religion, law, language and culture of the mysterious new settlers.

But they have left tantalizing glimpses of their lives. Swords, shields, jewellery and musical instruments have been found across Scandinavia. The Trudholm sun chariot appears to be a religious artefact, showing a horse pulling the sun across the sky.

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The Trundholm sun chariot (Solvognen), was discovered in Denmark, a statue of a horse and a large bronze disk, which are placed on a device with spoked wheels.

The sculpture was discovered with no accompanying objects in 1902 in a peat bog on the Trundholm moor in West Zealand County on the northwest coast of the island of Zealand (Sjælland) in Denmark, in a region known as Odsherred (approximately55°55′N 11°37′E). It is now in the collection of the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen.

The well-preserved body of the Egtved Girl (c. 1390–1370 BC), found in southern Jutland in 1921, gives us a close-up view of a 3,500-year old person and her possessions. Aged 16–18 at death, she was slim, 160 cm tall (about 5 ft 3 in), had short, blond hair and well-trimmed nails. Her burial has been dated by dendrochronology to 1370 BC. She was discovered in a barrow approximately 30 meters wide and 4 meters high. Only the girl’s hair, brain, teeth, nails and little skin remain preserved.

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Bronze Age artwork in Scandinavia includes rock carvings, such as those at Tanumshede in Sweden, reveal a well-appointed world of horse-drawn carts, ships with curious breaks at either end, weapons and a religion devoted to the worship of the sun and fertility.

The Rock Carvings in Tanum, near TanumshedeBohuslän, Sweden, has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO because of the high concentration of petroglyphs.

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One of the larger rocks of Nordic Bronze Age petroglyphs in Scandinavia, the Vitlyckehäll, is located in Tanumshede.

In total there are thousands of images called the Tanum petroglyphs, on about 600 panels within the World Heritage Area. These are concentrated in distinct areas along a 25 km stretch, which was the coastline of a fjord during the Bronze Age, and covers an area of about 51 hectares (126 acres or 0.5 km²).

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Scandinavian Bronze Age and Iron Age people were sophisticated craftsmen and very competent travelers by water. (Dates for ages vary with the region; in Scandinavia, the Bronze Age is roughly 1800 to 500 BCE) Many of the glyphs depict boats of which some seem to be of the Hjortspring boat type carrying around a dozen passengers. Wagons or carts are also depicted.