Walking on the Rock Art Paths

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Naquane rock 1

TRACCE no. 10 – by Andrea Arcà

Walking on the Rock Art Paths. educational workshop with elementary and middle schools
The workshop “Walking on the Rock Art Paths” has two main purposes: to bring the children nearer to prehistory; to educate to the image through the study of rupestrian iconography.

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From a Naquane rock 1 figure (wax-graffito, Daniele, 11 years)

From a Naquane rock 1 figure (wax-graffito, Daniele, 11 years)

Duel scene from rock 1 of Naquane

Duel scene from rock 1 of Naquane

(in Italian)

This educational experience has been conducted with Italian schools (elementary and middle) of the metropolitan areas, so living far from the rock art areas. The workshop, conducted by Andrea Arcà in co-operation with the GRCM of Turin and Footsteps of Man (Valcamonica), has been introduced by a lesson (with slides) on Alpine Rock Art. After that a one-day trip guided the classes to the most important site of Alpine Rock Art, which is the National Park of Naquane (Capo di Ponte, Valcamonica). Here we have thousands and thousands of figures, which show the iconography of the most important prehistoric periods, from the Copper Age to the Iron Age, through the images of warriors, hunters, weapons, animals, huts and so on, which can be arranged like puzzle elements.

The second part of the workshop experienced an interpretative and creative activity. The elementary school children were asked to invent a story, while the middle school boys realised art galleries (with different drawing techniques), riddles (charades, anagrams, rebuses), poetry (voices recorded), short papers, the whole based on the rock art subjects and themes.

The final job has been to translate texts, pictures and sounds (recorded voices) into a multimedia web site, to make possible a world-wide exchange of experiences between schools.

Probably the most interesting part of the project has been this kind of spur to create, to work together, to communicate each experience. Children and boys became at the same time producers and consumers of their own cultural information, chief actors with their live voice of the plays they wrote.

The Rock Art subject has been very well accepted by children and by teachers. It is a useful way to study prehistory and at the same time to learn from the children’s minds.

There is the space to explain many archaeological data and methods, but also the possibility of proceeding in a deep creative and interpretative new experience.

Copper Age daggers (Corinne, 11 years, embossed copper)

Copper Age daggers (Corinne, 11 years, embossed copper)

Working out of the traditional way of teaching means not only involving at the same time different sc ool-topics (from writing to drawing, from Italian to history and to computer work) but mainly finding the way for the children to write their own ideas, to draw the figures they choose adding their titles, to find the way to create anything related with the subject given. In few words to give them the chance of learning how to be masters of themselves.

Here are some ways to see the children’s works (in Italian).


Tales (elementary school)

  1. The tribe of the architects and the full meal of deer
  2. Peace at Battletown

Poetry (middle school)

  1. The magic world of the engravings
  2. Travel in the mists of time
  3. Raquel grandmother
  4. The sunlight
  5. Pecking we learn

Riddles(middle school)

  1. Squeeze-brain riddles
  2. The Camunnian riddles
  3. Enigmatography

Art galleries(middle school)

  1. The “praying figures” picture-gallery
  2. The world-wide most ancient art-gallery
Paspardo Iron Age deers (Jessica, 8 years)

Paspardo Iron Age deers (Jessica, 8 years)

You can also reach the GRCM (Gruppo Ricerche Cultura Montana – Alpine Cultural Research Group) main page or take a look at last year’s experience to find more material.

Andrea Arcà
Cooperativa Archeologica
Le Orme dell’Uomo (Footsteps of Man)

back to index TRACCE no. n.10Back to IndexIRAC '98- Portugal

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