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Levels of Narrativity in Scandinavian Bronze Age Petroglyphs

  • Michael Ranta (a1), Peter Skoglund (a2), Anna Cabak Rédei (a3) and Tomas Persson (a4)


In Europe, Scandinavia holds the largest concentration of rock art (i.e. petroglyphs), created c. 5000–first century bc, many of them showing figurative and seemingly narrative representations. In this paper, we will discuss possible narratological approaches applied to these images. We might reasonably distinguish between three levels of pictorial narrativity: representations of (i) single events, understood as the transition from one state of affairs to another, usually involving (groups of) agents interacting; (ii) stories, e.g. particular sequences of related events that are situated in the past and retold for e.g. ideological or religious purposes; and (iii) by implication, master-narratives deeply embedded in a culture, which provide and consolidate cosmological explanations and social structures. Some concrete examples of petroglyphs will be presented and analysed from narratological and iconographical perspectives. We will as a point of departure focus on (i), i.e. single events, though we shall also further consider the possibility of narrative interpretations according to (ii) and (iii).

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Levels of Narrativity in Scandinavian Bronze Age Petroglyphs

  • Michael Ranta (a1), Peter Skoglund (a2), Anna Cabak Rédei (a3) and Tomas Persson (a4)


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