Since the discovery of rock karvings in 1997, the members of the Kola Archaeological Expedition at the Russian Aсademy of Sciences have worked persistently summer after summer documenting the rock art (petroglyphs) at lake Kanozero.
The Kanozero sites are one of the largest congregations of petroglyphs in northern most Europe with its own characteristic profile and identity. There is no other congregation of sites/panels like it, even though individual figures are recognized to be morphologically similar and topics overlap. No doubt there were contacts and exchange of ideas with populations to the south, east and wеst, but the signature of Kanozero is different from any of the other major groups of sites in northern most Europe, such as in the river Vyg and Lake Onega in the republic of Karelia in Russia, Namforsen waterfall in northern Sweden and Alta in northern Norway.
The Kanozero petroglyphs are an important addition to our knowledge not only about the distribution of rock art among the fisher, hunter, gather populations in northern most Europe, but also about rock art assigns and symbols in profane and sacred rituals and in daily life when communicating with other people and “other than humans”. As such the art is important to understand beliefs and rituals of the people who lived on the Kola Peninsula 4000-6000/7000 years ago.
First rock carvings of Lake Kanozero (in the group designated now as Kamennyi-1) were discovered in 1997 by Yuri Ivanov from the Local Lore Museum of Revda.
By 2011 over 1200 depictions in 18 groups distributed among three islands (Gorelyi, Elovyi, Kamennyi) and one single-standing rock (Odinokaya) had been discovered.