Norway’s fascinating “ringing rocks” will finally be documented
Ringing rocks, also known as singing stones, are part of the natural and cultural heritage that has not received much attention until recently.
When a so-called ringing rock is being struck with smaller stones, a metallic or bell-like sound occurs. This geological phenomenon is known in several places in the world, and there is an ever-increasing number of observed ringing rocks in the Norwegian territory. They have different names, such as ringing stones. song stones, sonorous rocks or lithophonic rocks.
Through a two-year collaboration project between Magma Geopark, based in Egersund, and the music archaeologist Gjermund Kolltveit, Nesodden, the stones will now be registered. They will collect information from all over the country about these rocks, their geology and cultural history. Some of the stones are associated with beliefs that the locals have taken care of. Others are known from early written sources. The collected material will be published on a separate website. The Cultural Council and the Norwegian Center for Folk Music and Folk Dance have supported the project.
If you know of a local ringing rock, we’d love to hear from you!
Facts about ringing rocks:
- • Found in most counties in Norway, but most in the Southwest region.
- • A geological riddle: Geologists have no good explanation for why some rocks create this sound. Legends and beliefs are associated with the stones. In some places people hit the rocks to scare the underground creatures. Elsewhere, people played just for fun.
- • The oldest rocks may have been used as early as the Bronze Age or earlier. “Ringing rocks” are found on all continents. One of the largest fields is located in the Nile Valley in Sudan, and has been in use since the third millennium BC.
The project got financial support from: