Comparative Guts

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Rock carving of elk with lifeline and guts.

Alta, northern Norway.

Photo: Karin Tansem, VAM, Copyright © World Heritage Rock Art Centre – Alta Museum. (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

Only a few of the rock art images in northern Norway display a patterning that is likely to represent guts in an unambiguous way. This male elk is one of the few exceptions. In this figure, a line leads (probably) from the mouth to a point just behind the front leg. This is similar to the drawing of the lifeline seen in some other images. The vertical lines in the front half of the torso may represent the ribs of the animal and in the back part of the torso first a circle can be seen, possibly representing the stomachs (or the uterus), and behind it are a set of lines and a circle that could represent the intestines. The engraving has been enhanced with chalk.