see also Rock Art in the Alps - Rock Art in Valtellina
in Italiano

Iron Age

Near the Rupe Magna we can find many engraved rocks along the top of the Giroldo hill.

This rock was called by Davide Pace "La Rupe degli Armigeri" (the rock of the armigers). In this figure we can recognize a warrior holding a spear and a shield. Little figures have been engraved on the right.

The style is still schematic. Body, legs and arms are represented by lines, like in the so-called "orant" figures. But the weapons are clearly related to the first Iron Age warriors.

The theme of the warrior is crucial in Iron Age Rock Art, which represents in Valcamonica 80% of all figures, and in Valtellina (Rupe Magna) 83% .

In this case the warrior is simply standing, showing his weapons. In the Grosio petroglyphic complex we can find two kinds of warriors: the "long-ones" and the "short-ones".

These engravings are not only depicting a real situation: they are most probably related with a prehistoric fight or game or initiatory rites.


Iron Age Rock Art shows its evidence in duel scenes. It is never a matter of war, but always of fight. The biggest value is strength and its demonstration. We can well recognize Iron Age swords and shields (square and round). Like in Valcamonica, warriors fights in couples, sometimes accompanied by a third figure, perhaps a referee of a warrior waiting to fight with the winner.

Spears and shields (on the left, Rupe Magna sector AF) are proudly shown. Sometimes little figures have been interpreted as boys.

The body, in this case (on the right, Rupe Magna sector AE) always with raised arms and showing muscles, begins to be engraved in a more naturalistic fashion. All Iron Age Rock Art shows a passage from schematic figure to naturalistic ones. This characteristic is more evident in Valcamonica Rock Art, while in Valtellina (Rupe Magna), it seems to stop in the first phases of the Iron Age.

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  2. Neolithic and first Copper Age
  3. Copper Age
  4. Bronze Age
  5. Iron Age
  6. Rupe Magna, the largest engraved rock in the Alps
  7. Rupe Magna, chrono-thematic plate


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© Andrea Arcà 30-Jun-96,09:27:58

by Footsteps of Man
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