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France    Haute Maurienne - Roche des Bouquetins

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Keywords: Iron Age, hunting, ibex, roman, inscription
Institution: Gruppo Ricerche Cultura Montana
Gruppo Ricerche Cultura Montana - Italy




Lanslevillard - Arcelle Neuve




Haute Maurienne


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Haute Maurienne, " Roche des Bouquetins", the rock and the environment (photo A. ArcÓ - GCM 1993)
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Haute Maurienne, " Roche des Bouquetins", the hunting scene and the Roman writings (photo A. ArcÓ - GCM 1993)

Environment & Surface


2240 m
Open-air   Shelter   Cave Portable   Megalithic

High mountain northward exposed slope, upper tree-vegetation limit, larches wood, alpine pasture, panoramic,


Path (Grande RandonnÚe), sources


Filladic calcschist (metamorphic rock composed by calcite and mica). This kind of rock allows the pecking technique, but is more affected by the erosion (water and wind) than the Permian sandstone, thus the siliceous component, not soluble in water, is quite resistant. The rock is covered by snow for 6-7 months each year.


Smooth, flat and lightly waved, patina, brown encrusted lichens, 40░-55░ of inclination, black and yellow lichens, west-south-west exposed

Length 1.30 m.  Width 0.70 m.  Depth 0.35 m.


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Haute Maurienne, " Roche des Bouquetins", detail of the Roman writings (digital enhancement A. ArcÓ 1997)
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Haute Maurienne, " Roche des Bouquetins", the entire tracing and the Roman writings (tracing GRCM 1991, epigraphic interpretation of G. Mennella)


Engravings   Paintings   Painted engravings   High or low-relief   Sculpture
It is one of the most interesting Iron Age hunting scenes of the western Alps. The ibexes are well detailed and the warrior-hunter is depicted while handling a shake and a little shield. In this area the ibex replace the deer in the hunting scenes. The scene shows close similarities (seminaturalistic way of depicting the bodies, curly tail dog, general theme and composition of the hunting scene) with the analogous Camunnian ones. The Roman inscriptions has been read by G. Mennella. They says: "Luccius Mett.... qui amat iatinu(m)2 or "latinu(m)" (1), "aratam" (2), "amat"(3). The interpretation is that these inscription were executed as a graffito, so defacing the more ancient Iron age scene, by a Roman officer controlling the payment of the taxes (quadragesima galliarum) in the Moncenisio pass area. The graffito represent a disgrace against Lucius Mettius, who is described as having inconvenient erotic practices with the ibexes (qui amat platinum). It is the highest Roman inscription found in the Alps.

total number 9
3 ibexes, 1 curly tail dog, 1 hunter with spear, 1 anthropomorphic figure with no head, 3 Roman inscriptions


Palaeolithic   Epipalaeolithic - Mesolithic   Neolithic   Copper Age   Bronze Age   Iron Age   Roman   Middle Age   Modern   Unknown
The hunting scene (massive body warriors, curly tail dog, semi-naturalistic animals) is clearly comparable with the similar scenes of the Iron Age Valcamonica rock art (IV2 IV3 style, VII-IV cent. BC). The Roman inscriptions are of the I cent. AD.


The rock has been discovered on October 1989 by P. Meirano, G. M. Cametti and Andrea ArcÓ of the Gruppo Ricerche Cultura Montana (GRCM) of Turin. It has been studied by the French team of the Chambery Archaeological Museum, by the GRCM itself, and by the Prof. G. Mennella of the Genoa University who read the roman inscriptions.

European total bibliography, by EuroPreArt partnersTotal (Europe)
France EuroPreArt general bibliography, by Gruppo Ricerche Cultura MontanaGeneral (country)
Specific Haute Maurienne - Roche des Bouquetins bibliography, by Gruppo Ricerche Cultura MontanaSpecific (site)
Rock Art Studies: A Bibliographic worldwide Database (external link). Compiled by Leigh Marymor. Copyright (C) 2001-2002 by the Library, University of California, Berkeley Bibliographic
Rock Art


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Public   Private   Park   Classified site


The engraved surface is just aside a well attended path and could be damaged by tourists. The engravings are visible only under grazing light (early morning and late afternoon).


Good   Quite good   Mediocre   Bad


The rock has been completely recorded (International western Alps rock art record), traced (contact tracing and digital vectorial rendition), photographed (normal light and grazing light colour slides). A cast has been executed (professional technique with elastomeric mould and copy in synthetic resin). Recording data can be found at the Chambery Museum.




Andrea ArcÓ


Gruppo Ricerche Cultura Montana
         298 / 806
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