autumn 2018
ARK-2031 Arctic Rock Art - 10 ECTS

Last changed 27.02.2019

Application deadline

Applicants from Nordic countries: 1 June for the autumn semester and 1 December for the spring semester. Exchange students and Fulbright students: 1 October for the spring semester and 15 April for the autumn semester.

Type of course

This is an optional course and may be taken as a single course.

Admission requirements

Higher Education Entrance Qualification (generell studiekompetanse) or prior learning and work experience (realkompetanse). Application code: 9199 (Nordic applicants).

No background knowledge of archaeology is required.

Course content

Rock art images provide a fascinating glimpse into past societies. The Nordic countries have a wealth of sites and a wide variety of different motifs, ranging from life-sized animals and detailed hunting scenes, to images of shamans and warriors, to prehistoric ritual scenes.

This course will provide an overview of Nordic rock art with an emphasis on the northernmost sites. It will briefly outline the history of research on rock art, before moving to the modern methods for analysis and interpretation of rock art.  Examples from areas beyond Scandinavia will be included, to present an understanding of the diversity of rock art.

Objectives of the course

The students will have the following learning outcomes:


The student will  have:

  • Fundamental knowledge of rock art in northern Fennoscandia
  • Fundamental knowledge of rock art in other parts of the Nordic countries and beyond
  • Fundamental knowledge of the history of research on rock art
  • Fundamental knowledge and understanding of recent methodological developments in documentation and analysis of rock art
  • Fundamental insight into recent  theories and interpretations of the ritual, social and economic context of the Arctic rock art


The student is able to / can:

  • Identify different categories of Nordic rock art
  • Discuss different interpretations
  • Prepare and present a short powerpoint on rock art

Language of instruction

All instruction will be provided in English. Oral presentation must be performed in English, while written examination may be in English or Norwegian.

Teaching methods

12 lectures and seminars, and - weather allowing - one excursion. The lectures will provide the empirical and theoretical overview of rock art research. The seminars will focus on group discussion of interpretations.

All courses will be evaluated once during the period of the study program. The board of the program decides which courses will be evaluated by students and teacher each year. 


Coursework requirements:

The following coursework requirements must be completed and approved in order to take the final exam:

  • Group or individual preparation and presentation of  a 5-10 minute powerpoint of one or more rock art panels

Assessment and exam:

The exam will consist of: One written take-home assignment of ca. 8-10 pages (ca. 3000-3500 words), in which two out of four assigned questions are answered. The duration of the exam is one week.  

The exam will be assessed on an A-F grades scale. Grades are A-E for passed and F for failed.


Retake is offered in in the beginning of the following semester in cases of grade F or Fail. Deferred examination is offered in the beginning of the following semester if the student is unable to take the final exam due to illness or other exceptional circumstances. Registration deadline for retake is January 15 for autumn semester exams and August 15 for spring semester exams.

Recommended reading/syllabus

c. 700 richly illustrated pages.


Lødøen, T. & Mandt, G. 2005. The Rock Art of Norway. Oxford, Windgather Press/Oxbow Books. ISBN 978-1-905119-28-8

  • About the course
  • Campus: Tromsø |
  • ECTS: 10
  • Course code: ARK-2031