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The decorated sea caves of Norway
Thursday 24 September 2020

'Underland' by Robert Macfarlane

The author is visiting the decorated sea caves of Norway's western coastline.

decorated sea caves Norway Underland Robert Macfarlane
The cave's modern name is Kollhellaren, which translates roughly as 'Hole of Hell'. Image: Knut Helskog, Professor emeritus, The Arctic University Museum of Norway. Member of the Rock Art Network.

'One of the remotest of these painted caves lies near the western tip of the Lofoten archipelago: the island chain that extends for almost 100 miles into the Norwegian ocean at a latitude of around sixty-eight degrees.

decorated sea caves Norway Underland Robert Macfarlane
The red dancing figures of Kollhellaren. Image: Knut Helskog, Professor emeritus, The Arctic University Museum of Norway. Member of the Rock Art Network.

The cave's modern name is Kollhellaren, which translates roughly as 'Hole of Hell', and it lies near the tip of the island of Moskenes, on its uninhabited north-western coast.

decorated sea caves Norway Underland Robert Macfarlane
The Lofoten archipelago: the island chain that extends for almost 100 miles into the Norwegian ocean at a latitude of around sixty-eight degrees.

It is here that 'the red dancing figures exist.....in some of the harshest country in the world.'

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