TRACCE no. 9 – by Stefania Casini
2nd International Congress of Rupestrian Archaeology
2-5 October 1997 DARFO BOARIO TERME
Figures of axes on Valcamonica and Valtellina stelae (style IIIA).
In 1994 to realise the exhibition Le pietre degli dei we re-examined all the existing documentation about the monumental compositions of camunian style III A.
(This contribution was presented at the 2eme Colloque International sur la Statuaire Megalithique – Saint Pons de Thomieres 10-14 septembre 1997 and will be published in the Actes of that Colloque)
In 1994 to realise the exhibition Le pietre degli dei. Menhir e stele dell’età del Rame in Valcamonica e Valtellina in Bergamo, together with R. De Marinis and A. Fossati, we re-examined all the existing documentation about the monumental compositions of camunian style III A; these studies lead us to suggest new articulated chronological sequences and new interpretations. The study of the camunian monuments of style III A is not therefore by now concluded and some other analysis can still be made. So this contribution is concerned with the iconography of the axes carved on the male statues, with the symbol of the sun.
A thorough analysis, in fact, allows us to distinguish three types of axes which correspond to lithic shaft-hole axes, flat copper axes with knee-shaft handle and metal shaft-hole axes, with tubular heel. It seems also that they have chronological value inside the style III A.
about the function of lithic shaft-hole axes of Lombardy, for they are not included with burials, they are worked with skill and made often with materials not useful for utilitarian purposes, and especially they were carved on Valcamonica and Valtellina stele, as a symbol of a male deity, together with the sun, halberds and daggers.