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 Location: Eastern Lombardy, The Alps.  Grid Reference: Approx: 46° 00" N, 10° 20" 00' E.

 

      Val Camonica: (Rock Art)

Valle Camonica derives its name from the Latin Vallis Camunnorum, that means "the Valley of the Camunni", the name by which the Romans called the inhabitants (today are called Camuni). It is one of the largest valleys of the central Alps, in eastern Lombardy, about 90 km long.

The inhabitants, who had begun to visit the valley already in the Palaeolithic, settled from the Neolithic. They were called by Romans the Camunni, people of uncertain origin, famous for their stone carvings, in Val Camonica they left about 300,000 petroglyphs, which has made the area one of the largest centres of rock art (Arte Rupestre) in Europe (1)

 

 

   Val Camonica: 'Valcamonica'.

Chronology:

  • Palaeolithic-post Palaeolithic figures.

Typified by large, naturalistic figures of hunted animals (elk, deer) such as those seen at Luine.

(No Image Available)

 

  • Neolithic: (Or the beginning of Copper Age, 3500-2800 BC)

Typified by figures with maps (rectangular or round geometric topographic figures), spirals and probably no more at Luine, Paspardo, Vite, Dos Sottolajolo.

Topographic compositions, or maps, are constituted by regularly repeated geometric modules.

They are the only figures which are covered by the Copper Age figures (Borno 1, Bagnolo 1, Ossimo 8). Basing on the study of the superimpositions, the maps represent the most ancient phase (apart the Epi-palaeolithic style) of the Valcamonica rock art (a similar consideration should be reflected in the Mt. Bego rock art). Some compositions which have been interpreted by Anati as idols (Sellero, Paspardo) and assigned to the Style II, are more likely to be interpreted as maps. (2)
 

 

Topographic composition at Vite, Paspardo, late Neolithic - first Copper Age (photo A. Arcą)

 

Topographic composition overlapped by Copper Age (Remedello 2 phase 2800-2400 BC) daggers and ploughing scenes (tracing A. Fossati - P. Frontini) (2)

 

  • Copper Age figures: (2,800 - 2200 BC)

Typified by triangular blades (Remedello and "Campaniforme" culture) daggers, triangular body human figures (like dancing, male and female, often sexuated), deers and pigs, ploughing scenes with cows, weapons (axes), icons of the sun and something like "carpets", at Borno, Ossimo, Darfo, Foppe di Nadro, Cemmo, Paspardo..

Copper Age daggers and schematic human figures on the Cemmo 2 boulder (photo A. Arcą)
 
 
  • Bronze Age figures (2200-800 BC)

Typified by daggers, axes, weapon's compositions, orants (people praying) (male and female, often sexed) with orthogonal arms and legs, at Luine, Foppe di Nadro, Naquane.

  

(Left) Naquane Rock 1, (Right) Weaponed and dressed praying figure on a Vite rock (photo A. Arcą)
 
 
  • Iron Age figures (800-16 BC)

The period of time that produced an explosion in rock art (80% of all figures), divided in 5 periods, with warriors, duels, riders, single figures and scenes (like duelling, hunting, sexual or ploughing scenes), dogs, birds, wood-stone houses, Etruscan inscriptions, footprints, swords, spears, snakes, spirals, cup-marks, everywhere. A big concentration in National Park of Engraved Rock at Naquane (Capo di Ponte). Always male and never female.

Fighting warriors or ceremonial images from Valcamonica's more recent history.

 

Gallery of Images: Valcamonica.

 

(More about Labyrinths)

(Cave-art Homepage)

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References:

 

 

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