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Geithidleren, Årsand, Kvinnherad

Rock painting below “Geithilderen” – a valuable relic. (Svein Nord).

Below a south facing, steep rock at Årsand, there is one of the strangest ancient relics in the whole of Hordaland. The jutting rock wall forms a shallow flagstone – Geithilderen. Parts of the rock wall are covered by a light lime crust and on the crust figures have been painted in golden and rusty red colours.

A rayed sun picture dominates the composition in the rock paintings at Årsand, with a central position on the rock. There are circular crosses, circles, triangles, squares and dots, but also patterns that no longer give any meaning.

There are several stylised human figures. A small figure of a man seems to have a rayed wreath round his head. Some places the figures seem to have been painted in pairs.

We can recognise some of the figures from the rock paintings of the Bronze age, and most of the experts who have examined the rock paintings at Årsand, think they should be dated to this time period.

If you ask what the figures signify, nobody can answer this. There are strong indications that the place, perhaps as long as 3,000 years ago, has been a holy place for a deity, worship and cult activities. The strange figures must have had their place in a cult where sun and growth have been key elements.

  • Bøe, J. (1940) En helligdom med malte veggbilder i Hardanger. Viking, IV, s. 145-152.