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

Rupe Magna, the largest engraved rock in the Alps

With its 84 m length and 35 m width Rupe Magna is surely the biggest engraved rock in the Alps. Its surface is covered by 5454 figures: 83.8 % Iron Age, 8% Bronze Age, 6.8% unidentified, 0.9% modern, 0.4% Chalcolithic.

The entire rock was traced by Footsteps of Man Archaeological Cooperative. The work was conducted between 1990 and 1995, under the authority of the Archaeological Superintendency of Lombardia, and ordered by the Park of Engraved Rocks of Grosio. 780 plastic sheets reproducing 342 square meters of engraved surface were traced.

The park, gift of the last Visconti-Venosta countess (owner of the land), represents a strong touristic attraction, where Rock Art well matches with the two middle-age castles.

The engravings are best seen in the first afternoon. Most of them represent anthropomorphic figures ("orants" and warriors). We can find only 23 animals: horses, goats, wild boars. Cup-marks are very numerous: many of them superimpose other figures, representing in this way one of the latest phases (middle Iron Age).

Here we can see the team of Fotsteps of Man and the summer-school participants. Many of them are young and coming from abroad: England, USA, Australia, Hungary.

An archaeological book was published in 1995: "Rupe Magna - La roccia incisa più grande delle Alpi". In this book all traced sectors have been reproduced. Here it is possible to recognize each engraved figure of the Rupe Magna.

Some quartz stones have been found inside the cracks of the rock. Most probably the figures were engraved with this kind of tool, by direct pecking.

Tracing is not easy: one must well recognize each engraved figure, each superimposition, distinguishing from natural and artificial signs. Tracing work is conducted by transparency (over plastic sheets) on direct (and very long and attentive) contact with the engraved surface.

Thanks to the Archaeological Superintendency of Lombardy (Dott.ssa R. Poggiani Keller) and to the Park of Engraved Rocks of Grosio (Dott. C. Rodolfi).

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  6. Rupe Magna, the largest engraved rock in the Alps
  7. Rupe Magna, chrono-thematic plate


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Sui Sentieri dell'arte rupestre
Le rocce incise delle Alpi, storia, ricerche, escursioni
44 escursioni alle più importanti aree incise delle Alpi. 184 pagine in bianco e nero e a colori.
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Walking on the rock art paths (in Italian). The most complete guide to the Alpine rock art . 184 pages, 44 full described trails (I-FR-CH-AU). 158 tracings and pictures, 20 maps, 21 boxes on Alpine culture.
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© Andrea Arcà 30-Jun-96,09:27:58

by Footsteps of Man
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