New BOOK!!

Extinct Beliefs of Prehistoric Hunter's in the Rock Pictures of Lake Onega.
Väino Poikalainen

The Karelian Republic in North-East Russia is famous for two Stone Age rock art territories about 5000-6000 years old. One lies close to the White Sea at the mouth of the River Vyg and the other on the Eastern shore of Lake Onega. Despite some similarities, both have clearly specific features. Carvings of the White Sea rock art territory depict various marine themes and many of them create dynamic compositions in which the sequence of time is conveyed by footprints, ski tracks and other traces. The rock carvings of Lake Onega, about 330 km to the south, represent a more static art rich in waterfowl images, abstract signs and beautiful compositions full of hidden meanings (Fig. 1). Studying Lake Onega rock art has come a long way since the first descriptions 150 years ago. During this period the number of known carvings and sites has constantly grown, as has the territory of discovered rock art. The preliminary opinions of «petty petroglyphs on the periphery of Northern Europe» have become a conviction that these are some of the most valuable rock art samples from the hunter-gatherer era in the Northern Hemisphere. Today they are seen as a prehistoric open-air sanctuary or sanctuaries.

The Estonian Society of Prehistoric Art has published a new book:

"Rock Carvings of Lake Onega. The Vodla Region"

by Väino Poikalainen and Enn Ernits, which is the first part of the planned 3-volume series about this petroglyph territory. The current volume (432 pages) consists of a survey of the Neolithic rock art of Lake Onega and a catalogue of the petroglyphs of the Vodla region. This region is the less known, northernmost part of the entire rock art territory, and includes the Kochkov-Navolok peninsula and the Bolshoi Golets island of the Shalskiye Ostrova islands. The structure of the catalogue is based on multi-layer graphic information from a general map to separate carvings united by a grid network. All carvings have a graphic representation with characteristic parameters added to it as well as a verbal description. Verbal description of biomorphs is based on international terminology used in human and veterinary anatomy. Details of the description method were worked out, the general survey conducted and description of the carvings written by Enn Ernits. Carving, group and site documentation was systematised and converted to computer graphics, parametrics determined, localities and sites described and the catalogue compiled by Väino Poikalainen. Data concerning separate carvings, groups and sites was compiled mostly in 1993-1995. In the same period parametrical documentation of the carvings accomplishe. Material collected by earlier expeditions of the Estonian Society of Prehistoric Art was used, too. Recorded photometric material was converted to computer graphics and carving descriptions written in 1995-1997.

The main goal of the book is to serve as the basis for further studies in rock art, prehistoric religion, archaelology, history of art, protection of rock art, etc. The publication can be ordered at the price of 57 US $ (plus 9$ in Europe and 12$ elsewhere for postage expences):

Väino Poikalainen
P.O. Box 192

E-mail address:

or sending a telefax to 372-7-493569.

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Fig. 1. A carving composition from the Northern Cape Swan site.