The Story of the Landscape
Our working group has made several research
and photography expeditions to the rock art area of Lake Onega and
the White Sea over a period of six years. The petroglyph sites of
Lake Onega are in Russian Karelia, in an uninhabited zone 20 kilometers
long on the east shore of the lake.
The landscape of the rock art area on Lake Onega has remained almost unchanged
for 6,000 years. Capes and points extending into the lake, rock faces
with petroglyphs between them and long beaches present a landscape
of myth that has shown itself to us at different times of the day
and year. At the same time, our experience of the landscape has grown
both aesthetically and in content to become deeper and richer.
The imagery of the rock art area is important both in terms of research
and in artistic perspective. The Fenno-Ugrians and other ethnic groups
living in the area carved the signs and visual narratives at the
rock sites during the Neolithic Stone Age (4000–2000 before the Common
Era). The grooves and furrows in the rock are like pictures from
a history book telling about people in the past and their life. The
pictures may be associated with means of livelihood, healing, communal
rites or concepts of the birth of the universe or the hereafter.
and their surrounding landscape deepen our understanding of the worldview
of people in the distant past, and of ourselves. The sanctity and
power of the landscape can be sensed. For a moment, we – like the
people of prehistory – are one with nature.
Marjukka Vainio, Riitta
Virtanen and Erkki Murtonen