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date: 06 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The Valcamonica–Valtellina area is one of the most interesting in the Alps regarding rock art. Here, there is prehistoric rock art dating from the end of the Palaeolithic to the arrival of the Romans (16 BC ). Outcrops were decorated by hammering and scratching using quartz tools. ‘Crosses’, necklaces, and spirals are the most ancient figures attributed to the Neolithic (fifth millennium BC ) and have definite connections with the megalithic art of western Europe. Topographic figures appear later, during the fourth millennium BC . These images show motifs such as spots (pecked areas), double and single rectangles, groups of dots or lengthened dots (‘macaroni’), oval shapes, ‘mushrooms’, and the so-called ‘bandolier’ (a circular map). These motifs probably represent fields and constructions, real or imaginary. In the third millennium BC, the so-called final Neolithic (or Copper Age), statue-menhirs appear. These monuments were erected to create alignments near flat cairns, maybe for religious purposes or in connection with ancestor cults.

Keywords: Rock art, Valcamonica–Valtellina, Neolithic, Copper Age, Megalithism, maps, statue-stelae

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