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VALCAMONICA/ITALIAN ALPS ROCK ART

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Author Topic: VALCAMONICA/ITALIAN ALPS ROCK ART  (Read 1299 times)
Bianca
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« Reply #30 on: March 12, 2008, 01:50:17 pm »









The research 





The engraved rocks were always known by local inhabitants, who called this region the "Valle delle Meraviglie".

We can find the first written description in a 1460 letter by Pierre de Monfort ("C'etatit lieu infernal avec que figures de diables et mille démones partout taillez en rochiers" - it was a hell place with devil figures everywhere engraved in the rocks) and in a 1650 guide written by Pietro Gioffredo ("I laghi su menzionati sono detti laghi delle Meraviglie perché nei loro pressi sono state rinvenute, e ciò è motivo di grande meraviglia nei visitatori, rocce di vari colori, quasi levigate, che portano incise un migliaio di figure" - These lakes are called "Lakes of Marvels" because rocks of various colors were found near them, with a thousand engraved figures; for this reason visitors are quite astonished).

The first and one of the most important researchers was Sir Clarence BICKNELL, a British botanist
who spent his summers here from 1897 to 1918, documenting (pictures and 16,000 rubbings) and discovering thousand of engraved signs.

In 1927-1942 Carlo Conti was charged by the Archaeological Superintendance of Piedmont to study these rocks. He catalogued some 35,000 figures, and dug in the shelter "Gias del Ciari" (shelter of the mouse), finding pottery from Cardial Neolithic to early Bronze Age and some small silex blades. He divided the region into 21 zones, using Roman notation (I-XXI).

Since 1967 the team of Prof. Henry De Lumley is studying the region, completing a huge project of documentation.







35,000 figures have been traced, and the beautiful new museum of Tenda (with many moulders perfectly reproducing the most important engraved surfaces) is now opened to the public.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2008, 01:55:22 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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Bianca
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« Reply #31 on: March 12, 2008, 01:56:35 pm »









How to date and interpret





In Mt. Bego region we can find prehistoric and historic engravings.

We can also find pecked engravings and "linear engravings". Pecked engravings are mostly prehistoric, "linear engravings" (easily made by a knife or metal point: please don't do this!)
mostly historic.

The main typologies of pecked prehistoric engravings are three: horned figures (80% are cows), weapons (7.5% are daggers and halberds), grid figures (12.5% are square grids and "topographic" figures). It's common opinion that that we must date prehistoric figures to the ancient Bronze Age (1800-1500 b.C.). We can recognize the shapes of many Bronze Age daggers and halberds engraved on the rocks.

But also we can find a few Copper Age axes, while most of the "topographic" engravings must be dated to the first Chalcolithic period or to the late Neolithic, as demonstrated by a comparison with the identical figures of Valcamonica  Roman and Greek inscriptions have been engraved with a scratched (linear engravings) technique, and the same for medieval and modern ones. So the prehistoric period of Mt. Bego's pecked engravings range from the late Neolithic to the Ancient Bronze Age, excluding the Iron Age, which is represented, however, by most of the engravings in Valcamonica.

From this we may guess that because the climate was colder during the Iron Age, people were not able to make engravings at the higher, much colder altitudes of Mt. Bego.

Regarding the themes of the engravings, we can easily distinguish between ground-related figures (topographic figures, cows, ploughing scenes) and war-related figures (weapons as daggers and halberds).

Ground-related figures seem to be the older ones, often superimposed by daggers. There was perhaps the influence of pastoral activity, but there was also perhaps a ritual intention in engraving a figure for cultural evidence or to bring good luck.

- A lot of thanks to Sassy Turchi, U.S.A. for English editing! -





Books


BICKNELL C., 1913. Guide to Prehistoric Rock Engravings of the Italian Maritime Alps

DE LUMLEY H., 1995. Le grandiose et le sacré, Edisud, Aix en Provence
« Last Edit: March 12, 2008, 01:58:40 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #32 on: March 12, 2008, 02:00:50 pm »



Topographic engravings,

Fontanalba

(Late Neolithic or first Copper Age)
« Last Edit: March 12, 2008, 02:02:04 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #33 on: March 12, 2008, 02:03:21 pm »



Spiral, Fontanalba

(First Copper Age?)
« Last Edit: March 12, 2008, 02:04:31 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #34 on: March 12, 2008, 02:05:50 pm »



Man holding a halberd,

Fontanalba

(Late Copper Age)
« Last Edit: March 12, 2008, 02:07:08 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #35 on: March 12, 2008, 02:08:28 pm »



Ploughing scene,

Fontanalba

(Late Copper Age)
« Last Edit: March 12, 2008, 02:10:01 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #36 on: March 12, 2008, 02:11:02 pm »



Cow, Fontanalba

(Copper Age - Bronze Age)
« Last Edit: March 12, 2008, 02:12:02 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #37 on: March 12, 2008, 02:13:03 pm »



Dagger,

Valle delle Meraviglie

(Ancient Bronze Age)
« Last Edit: March 12, 2008, 02:14:00 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #38 on: March 12, 2008, 02:14:57 pm »



Il Mago (the wizard),

Valle delle Meraviglie

(Bronze Age)
« Last Edit: March 12, 2008, 02:16:24 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #39 on: March 12, 2008, 02:17:32 pm »



Halberd,

Valle delle Meraviglie

(Ancient Bronze Age)
« Last Edit: March 12, 2008, 02:18:26 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #40 on: March 12, 2008, 02:19:41 pm »

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« Reply #41 on: March 12, 2008, 02:21:31 pm »




http://www.rupestre.net/alps/
« Last Edit: March 12, 2008, 02:22:57 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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