“Salthammeren” (Bokmål) or “Salthamaren” (Nynorsk) is a small petroglyph site in Vangdal south of Norheimsund in Kvam municipality, Vestland County. The “Salt” part of Salthamaren also means salt in Norwegian, and it got this name because there have been found traces of ancient salt production in the area. “Hamaren” refers to the steep rock face were the petroglyphs are carved, as such rock faces are often referred to as a “rock hammer” (berghammer) in Norwegian. If you are using google maps to look for this site, the site is named “Salthammeren Stone Age Carvings”.
There is a rest area along the road where you can park your car, and there is also an information board telling you about the rock art in English and Norwegian. Then there is a short (but steep) path down to the petroglyphs.
About the figures
I was only able to see the two deer figures from the upper left in the above sign when looking for petroglyphs. The button to turn the lights on/off didn’t work when I was there, but I visited the sight in the middle of the day when the lights wouldn’t help much anyways. Note that if you’re visiting this site in the middle of summer, like I was, it won’t get very dark even in the evening – so the light conditions will rarely be ideal for viewing the rock carvings.
Even though I wasn’t able to locate the human figure, it is interesting to note the difference in care taken with the anatomical details by the artist carving the deer figures to the upper left, and the human in the bottom right of the above sign. This could be explained by the carvings being made by artists of difference skill level – as there also is what appears to be a more poorly drawn deer figure in the bottom right. But the difference in care when drawing deer figure and human is also very typical of Norwegian rock art.
There are a number of examples like this one at Salthammeren of well-drawn and relatively anatomically correct deer figures. But isn’t a single example of a well-drawn and anatomically correct human figures, which are usually just drawn as simple stick figures. This one has an elongated torso, short limbs and a big head. The short limbs and long torso are also common among many human figures in Norwegian rock art. Which makes me think that they may have been drawn like this on purpose, to put special emphasis on the torso for some reason.
My Photographs From the Site
I wasn’t able to make out the human and other figures supposed to be at this site when I was there. But I took several extra photographs of the rock surface in hopes that I could see it in the pictures when I got home, but I still can’t really make anything out. As mentioned there are a lot of markings in the rock that sort of look like they are human made, but also may have happened naturally.
As with many rock art sites I also came across a few recent carvings made by more modern artists inspired to leave their own little marks on the world.