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

Neolithic and first Copper Age

Few single spirals (10) have been found only on the Rupe Magna. They are the most effaced, and superimposed by anthropomorphic figures. Here we can see (sector F) a spiral (more ancient) surrounded by Iron Age cup-marks. Also in other Alpine sites spirals seems to be one of the most ancient signs, being superimposed by schematic antropomorphic figures. Their meaning remains unknown. In Europe we can find many engraved spirals in megalithic art (Irish passage graves, Neolithic) and Sardinian "Domus de Janas" (Neolithic-Copper Age). On the contrary labyrinths and meanders (also present on Rupe Magna) must be placed in a later phase (Bronze Age - Iron Age)

Another sign that we can only relate to megalithic art is the one which you can see on the left (sector AL): concentric half-circles also called "collar-like". In Brittany we can find them, obsessingly engraved, in Gavrinis tumulus, in Ireland at Loughcrew, in Spain at Collado de Sejos. We can find them (but upside down) also in the Chalcolithic stelae of Valtellina (Caven 3 and Cornal) and Valcamonica. On the Rupe Magna (only 6) they are not effaced and seem "fresh": but we must consider that they were engraved on a vertical surface and always covered by moss. They are also accompanied by a "cross-like" figure, another element which well complies in a megalithic environment.

These engraved figures were found by the De Piazzi in 1975 on the open-air rocks of Caven (Teglio), not far from the site of chalcolithic stelae. The rock is situated in a very open and panoramic site, looking down to the bottom of the valley, which shows roads and cultivated fields. We can easily imagine that these figures could represent cultivated fields or settlements, being one of the most ancient topographic maps. In Valcamonica these kinds of figures are superimposed by Copper Age ones: so they belong to the first phase of engraving activity (last Neolithic - first Copper 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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