TRACCE no. 9 – by Fabio Sebasti, Samou Camara
2nd International Congress of Rupestrian Archaeology
2-5 October 1997 DARFO BOARIO TERME
Recent discoveries of prehistoric paintings in the Val De Varri’s cave (Rieti, Central Italy).
The Val de’ Varri cave, placed represents the first known settlement of the middle Bronze Age of Latium…
The Val de’ Varri cave, placed between the Salto and Turano rivers, in the province of Rieti and on the border with the Abruzzo region, represents the first known settlement of the middle Bronze Age of Latium. Here, in 1928 and 1946, bronze elements, ceramic and faunistic fragments were recovered.
In last July, an archaeological research programme, conducted by the Soprintendenza Archeologica per il Lazio (F. Sebasti, S. Camara), has been engaged for a project of touristic exploitation. During the researches, different levels of human occupation have been discovered, consisting of fires and some intentional arrangements of stones.
The associated material is composed by fragments of coarse and fine ceramic, bronze elements (bracelets), flint industry (sickle element) a fragment of copper stab, a pestle and a loom element. The fauna concerns mainly of cattle, sheep and swine rests.
In the last days, on the surface of some walls, some investigations inside the cave have led to the individuation of a series of paintings not always clearly visible. Even if the whole inventory needs to be analysed, it has been possible to pick out abstract forms consisting in straight and curved lines and concentric circles. At the moment it is absolutely premature any attempt to place chronologically these signs, even if the archaeological findings in the inner deposit suggest a generic attribution to the Bronze Age.
A careful study of the painting record in the Val de’ Varri’s cave could give an important contribution to the knowledge of shepherds and breeders’ art in central Italy, where, till now, it hasn’t been shown remarkable artistic evidence.