Geosite Astuvansalmi Rock Paintings got new pictures by NASA method

The image processing method used in NASA’s satellite imagery was applied to Finnish rock paintings. The new documentation has been completed by 2020. The paintings now tell more about themselves. The largest and oldest human drawings in the Nordic countries are 3,500–7,000-year-old rock paintings on Suomussalmi’s Hossa Värikallio, Laukaa Saraakallio and Mikkeli’s Ristiina Astuvansalmi.

The most common subjects in rock paintings are man, deer and boat. No actual action scenes or descriptive stories have been found in the past, except for at most one vertical ascending icon chain on Hossa Color Rock. In this new documentation, faint and invisible images were brought to light by modern means.

The probable ancient line of sight of the paintings was measured in the Stepping Strait. It appears to overlap with the area of ​​the rock that best echoes. In addition to the former, one new human figure was discovered.

Forensic lighting added characters

In the new documentation now made, the rock walls were illuminated with so-called forensic lighting (using Part C of the CPED method by South African Kevin Crause), but with natural light. The images were processed by archaeologists for more than a decade using DStretch and the newer androidDStretch program. Both programs used by archaeologists are based on the “decorrelation stretch” method developed by NASA for processing its satellite images in the 1960s. The method has later been used to study images of a Mars hiker in the United States.

The method is based on the mathematical Karhunen-Loève transformation (Principal component analysis, Hotelling Transformation). With these means, it is possible to bring out images that are invisible even to the naked eye. These principles are also used in modern pattern recognition programs.
The documentation to be published now is so unique that Finland has not previously combined CPED and DStretch methods with such extensive documentation.
The problematic images used the method used by the American astronomer Clyde Tombaugh in 1930 to find Pluto, but in reverse.

There are tens of thousands of stars in astronomical photographs of the starry sky. Comparing images from star to star is impossible. Tombaugh used two photographs of the starry sky taken at different intervals. They were quickly flickered alternately in the field of view of his device. At that time, tens of thousands of fixed stars remained bright points in place, and only one small point among them jumped back and forth. It was Pluto who had managed to move from place to place during the interval between taking pictures. The same principle was used to flicker two rock paintings towards the same but differently color-modified image. All the colors jumped confusingly on the computer screen – including the colors of the rock paintings – but the edges of the paintings did not jump out of place.

For some images, the modern brain that thinks like our culture was temporarily “turned off” by children using the draw line-to-point method. The image to be examined was magnified on a computer screen so large that no image was perceived in advance by an interpreter born in our culture. Point by point, the edges of the color range were followed until the starting point was reached. Only then was the image reduced, and what was born was seen.

In Hossa, technology created new entities

In the past, a maximum of 83 drawings have been found at Hossa Värikallio, now 144–157 drawings or parts of them have been found, depending on the calculation method. This means new interpretations. According to the calculation method, a total of as many as 10–16 of the story-like entities missing from the rock paintings were found at the three painting sites. This allows for new kinds of ideas.

The action scenes or images on Hossa’s Color Rock are; ascension, under water and on top, events under the sun, description of birth, hunting, description of running and shamanic territory, twins resembling a character in old Sámi drums and a story of four deer.

Antti Lahelma, who has written a dissertation on rock paintings, has suggested that in the pictorial world of old Sámi drums, something of the world of thought of rock painting period culture may have survived. This new documentation supports Lahelma’s idea.

According to the calculation method, more than 130 drawings were found in Laukak Sarakallio. Image sets include; animal and hand traces, the story of a deer-human relationship, a touch of something, a people-queue-violence-pregnancy or something else, and the oldest documented image of a boat fight in the Nordic countries now discovered as completely new.

By combining different methods, completely new and more reliable information about the largest and oldest rock paintings in the Nordic countries was discovered.

The amount of data contained in the images is huge. With the help of video documents, the information in the images was condensed and converted into a format that everyone could understand and view.

The most important new discoveries are now being evaluated in Finland, Sweden and Norway. However, due to their interest, the documentation is already open for all professionals and amateurs to examine.
The MEDIA RELEASE was published on September 14, 2020 by Pekka Honkakoski. European Rock Painting Day is celebrated on 9.10.

Video clips for rock paintings featuring new characters using NASA technology: