Antiquities & Archaeology

Stone-age skier irreparably damaged by well-intentioned youth

Two minors carved over a pictogram at one of Norway’s most important archaeological sites

As reported by the Norwegian news site The Local, a 5,000-year-old pictogram of a skier on the island of Tro off Norway in the Norwegian Sea has been severely—likely irreparably—damaged by a pair of “helpful” youth. Two minors etched over the linear carving, which is one of the earliest demonstrations of skiing in the Stone Age, reportedly to render the faint outlines more visible. The unnamed children had “good intentions”, Bård Anders Langø, the mayor of a town near the site, told The Local.

Langø called the incident “a tragedy, because it’s one of the most famous Norwegian historical sites” and “one of the most internationally known symbols of Norway”. The skier was the inspiration for the logos of individual sports at the 1994 Winter Olympics, held in Lillehammer, Norway.

According to Langø, archaeologists plan to re-assess the damage in September, but it is probably permanent and that “we may not ever be able to see the pictogramme of the skier as it was originally made 5,000 years ago”.