The Virukoda Museum of Prehistoric Art Estonia

The Hunters of Zalavruga


The Hunters of Zalavruga – Sunprints of Prehistory

Zalavrugan metsästäjät – aurinkokuvia muinaisuudesta


Art & Design subject studies graduation exhibition in Virukoda,

June 30th – July 28th 2019
Opening ceremony on June 29th 2019

Expo poster


Around six thousand years ago, prehistoric hunters made a habit of carving scenes of deer and elk hunting, and whaling, into the rocks along the River Vyg, which flows into the White Sea. These rock carvings are estimated to have been created between 5300 BCE and 2000 BCE. Over 2300 rock images have been found on the Zalavrugan rocks, with new discoveries being made every year. The fields of rock images in Zalavruga are deemed masterpieces of Neolithic art.

The images carved by the ancient hunter-gatherer tribes are not only illustrations of their hunting trips, but also depictions of their beliefs and everyday life. The locations of these carvings were important meeting places for celebration and trade for the tribes. The Karelian rock images are an integral part of the early history of Finno-Ugric tribes.

I saw these images firsthand with the on a trip to White Karelia with the Finnish Society for Prehistorical Art in the summer of 2015. The sheer size of the site of the carvings, the amount, the expressiveness, and the mysteriousness of the images made a lasting impression on me. Therefore, a couple years later, I chose the Zalavruga rock art as the subject of my Art & Design subject studies graduate thesis. The graduate thesis included an exhibition of the cyanotype prints made of the photographs I took on my trip to Zalavruga.

Cyanotype is a technique of photography discovered in 1842, in which a positive image is created using ultraviolet light on paper that is sensitized with an iron solution. Cyanotype prints are sometimes called sunprints. The cyanotype prints of this exhibition were exposed using the July sun of 2018. The development of the pictures was done with rainwater. I hope my sunprints will provide visitors with glimpses from our ancient past.


Pirkko Huttunen
Artist, pensioner, related to the Vyborg stonemasons
Member of the Finnish Society for Prehistorical Art


Location: The Virukoda Museum of Prehistoric Art
At the crossing of Palmse-Sagad, the village of Võsupere, Lääne-Virumaa County
Open on Tuesday -- Sunday at 12:00-18:00
Tel: +372-6337633