Rock Carving as Language in Italy's Valcamonica

Scientists have long resisted the idea that carved rock art, or petroglyphs might really made up a language rather than just a set of signs. Now comes a report from a conference held in Italy’s Valcamonica, promising that “archaeologists have managed to work out the grammar of this proto-writing system” they’ve found in 19 petroglyphs from the Dordogne region of France

“Rock art has been described before, but it has never been read,” said University of Lecce Professor (Emmanuael) Anati. “These images are agreements for unions between men and women belonging to different tribes that date back 30,000 years. They are the first records of marriage contracts”. ~ Rock art is early writing system, say experts.

The beautiful Valcamonica has lots of rock art. It’s one of those “hidden places” everyone hopes to find in Italy, and it’s really not inaccessible at all.

The hard Permian sandstone of the Lombardi Alps in the Valcamonica, scoured and polished by the Wurm glacier, is the perfect “canvas” for prehistoric rock carving. The engraving zone is found in the middle of the valley, between the peaks of Concarena and Pizzo Badile Camuno. Some of the best examples are found at the National Park of Engraved Rocks of Naquane, a fifteen minute walk from Capo di Ponte. Inside the park are 104 engraved rocks and some copper age stellae taken from Ossiomo and Cemmo. You’ll marvel at the workmanship.

I’ve made a map and provided some information on traveling, hiking and visiting the big sites in the Valcamonica, including information on how you can volunteer to record the rock carvings: Valcamonica Map and Travel Information

Rock Carving as Language in Italy's Valcamonica originally appeared on , updated: May 29, 2007 © .

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