Rock carvings offer a unique glimpse of a long-lost culture.
In Gjerpen in Skien, there are several beautiful fields with Bronze Age carvings, such as Løberg, Wattenberg, Bergheim, Fossum, Mæla and Venstøp.
Carvings are best seen when sunlight comes in from the side, most often in the morning or late afternoon / evening (time varies with time of year) and from field to field. Possibly. one can walk in the dark with a flashlight and illuminate the field from the side.
The Fossum field in Skien
Among the first rock carvings found in Norway was the Fossum field. It has long been assumed that the Fossum field is about 2800 years old, from the younger part of the Bronze Age. The petroglyphs show ships, soles of the feet and sun symbols from the Bronze Age. The sun symbols in the form of wheel crosses are not unique figures in themselves, but it is very special that there are so many gathered in one place, and that they constitute the main motif in the field. Several of them are extraordinarily elaborate.
Bronze Age images and signs are interpreted as religious memories associated with the Bronze Age worship, perhaps especially the worship of the sun as the origin of all fertility. They can also be interpreted as wheels or shields, or as all 3 things at once. Both sun, wheels and shields are important Bronze Age symbols.
In the field at Fossum, which is one of Norway's finest of its kind, an audience ramp has been built, so that you avoid stepping on the rock carvings. Light projectors are also installed, which give a very special effect. From mid-October to mid-May, they will be covered to avoid ice blasting.
When visiting the rock carvings, follow the signs from Hyniveien and onto Jernverksveien. There is parking for 2-3 cars. The area is not wheelchair accessible.
The Bergheim field in Skien
The field consists of ship figures, people, animals and bowl pits. The ship figure show an entire ship crew that in the outstretched arms holds paddle oars in front of them with the oar blade up in the air. In several of the oars, you can clearly see a small extension at the top that marks the flat leaf.
Løberghaugen in Skien
Located on private land. About. 3000 years old. The well-preserved field shows 40 figures of ships, sun symbols in form of circles, horses with riders, animals and soles of the feet. There are many animal figures on Løberghaugen, and they seem to reproduce horses and represent a line-shaped type with a head, tail and four legs. Here you will find both a wheel cross and another form of circuit sign, namely two groups of concentric circles.
Directions: Follow Håvundveien over Ballestadhøgda. Take the Bratsberg junction and drive Løbergveien across Gjerpensdalen in the direction of Skifjell, past the Løberg areas. The petroglyph field is located at a height of approx. 700 meters from the crossroads, on the north side of the houses.