April 14
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One of the largest and most significant sites of rock art in northern Europe is under “catastrophic” threat, The Guardian reported.

The Vingen carvings, in Vestland county, Norway, are spectacular, and include images of human skeletons and abstract and geometric designs.

Even the hammer stones, the tools used by the ancient artists to create their compositions, have survived.

Now archaeologists warn that the site is facing a “catastrophic” threat after a quarry, a shipping port and a crushing plant in the area of nearby Froysjoen received planning permission in February.

George Nash, a British archaeologist and specialist in prehistoric art at Liverpool University, told the Observer that Vingen was an internationally important site featuring more than 2,000 carved figures. He is “shocked the Norwegian authorities want to stick a dirty great quarry nearby.”

“Its exquisite, prehistoric engraved rock art was made when hunter-fisher-gatherers roamed the landscape 6,000 to 7,000 years ago. Any interference from large-scale quarrying will have an adverse effect on this landscape,” Nash said, adding that the “eventual outcome looks terrifying ... We are on a destructive trajectory of losing a remarkable landscape and its long history.”

Trond Lodoen, associate professor in archaeology at the University Museum of Bergen in Norway, says Vingen is exceptional because the landscape is pristine and barely changed since the rock art was created—apart from the sea level, which was probably six meters higher.

Rock art, also known as petroglyphs, is of most cultural and anthropological value when its location is undisturbed.

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