We have been successful - so we allege - in deciphering the entire complex of Scandinavian rock drawings at the World Heritage Site of Tanum, now in Sweden, and formerly in Norway (until the year 1658 - see the Treaty of Roskilde).
Our decipherment shows that the more than 1500 petroglyphs (rock drawings) at Tanum and its rock art affiliate locations form an enormous ca. 70 square kilometer planisphere (sky map of the heavens).
The graphic presentation of the decipherment is found below:
The Decipherment of the Tanum Petroglyphs by Andis Kaulins 2007
This sky map forms a shape of the stars along the Milky Way which was probably intended by its makers to represent a heavenly boat of the ancient Nordic seafarers. We have drawn in the line of the Milky Way to show this, but it is not, as far as we know, actually drawn on the ground.
As we shall be presenting a paper on this topic in May of this year in Horn / Bad Meinberg, Germany, at the Machalett Conference on Preshistory and Early History, this posting just contains the basics of our discovery.
It was 30 years ago in the year 1977 that this author first visited the petroglyphs (rock drawings) of Tanum,
Tanum includes the following petroglyphic locations covering many square kilometers of countryside: Vitlycke (where the museum is located), Tanum, Tegneby, Aspeberget, Gerum, Ryland, Oppen, Slänge, Varlös, Fossum, Lycke, Hoghem, Västerby, Ljungby, Tuvene, Litsleby, Kyrkoryk, Orrekläpp, Rungstung, Satetorp, Ryk, Tyft, Hovtorp, Björneröd, Bergslycke, Kalleby and Trättelanda.
One key to our decipherment was the Tanum rock drawing location map found
One cannot escape the feeling at Tanum that we are witnessing the birth of modern astronomy among the ancient seafarers, whose need for a knowledge of star orientation in sea navigation is beyond dispute.
These ancient men formed these constellations primarily for practical purposes and not, as mainstream archaeology persists in advocating regarding these petroglyphs, for unproven rites and rituals, which may have been a part of the complex of the ancient world, but certainly not as its moving force.
It is in fact little wonder that there are so many boats (ancient ships) represented in the petroglyphic figures. To the seafaring ancients, the night sky was a sea of stars. We think it possible that this might be the location at which our modern stellar constellations were initially "grouped" by European man - for purposes of navigation in seafaring travel.
There are other proofs - beyond the evidence of the rock drawings themselves - that this astronomical decipherment is correct, e.g. the names of locations at which the rock drawings are found, but these proofs will first be discussed in a paper in German to be presented to the 41st Conference of the Machalett Study Group on Prehistory and Early History in May of this year.