Prehistoric pictures at Naquane

The rocks bearing the ancient carvings

A lot of the rocks within the park are really big and represent a fantastic mix of natural beauty and archaeological value.

Bedrock smoothed by the glaciers, Naquane Rock Art National Park, Capo di Ponte (Valcamonica)The Valcamonica deserved so much attention because of its main asset, compared to other similar sites: the wealth of rock art left by its inhabitants during thousands of years of history that has reached us almost intact.

The rocks, from a geological point of view, are Permian sandstones, formed in the last period of the Palaeozoic age, the Permian (280-225 million years ago). Huge bulks of debris's were carried by powerful rivers in that age and slowly piled up in continental basins where the combined action of time, mechanical and chemical reactions turned them into stones.

A rock shaped and modelled by the glaciers, Naquane Rock Art National Park, Capo di Ponte (Valcamonica)The subsequent geological events (elevations and erosions) shaped them. The most recent change happened almost two million years ago since the Pleistocene glaciations. Smoothing, streaking, diggings, ridges, rounding's, undulations and 'pots of the giants' that today are there for us to see, are the results of the Wurmian glaciation that spread all over the Valley until 18.000-15.000 thousand years ago.

On these rocks, smooth and apt for the task, the first dwellers of the Valcamonica begun to carve the signs of their thought and spirituality.

Visiting the Naquane Park

Visiting the Big Rock, Naquane Rock Art National Park, Capo di Ponte (Valcamonica)There are a lot of rocks to see in the park, all with several themes and engraved in different periods. It is therefore impossible to follow any kind of logical course while visiting them, if not a geographical one.

On the rocks the visitors can find traces of all the prehistoric periods of the Valley, even though most of them have been engraved during the Iron age.

Experience dictate not to lose too much time on the outskirt of the park, unless you're looking for a specific figure to study.

To the visitor interested in a general overview we suggest to follow the course along the central path in the Park. On both sides it is possible to admire rocks noteworthy for their size, importance and contents.

The Statue Menhir's Meadow

School children watching the boulder Ossimo 8, Naquane Rock Art National Park, Capo di Ponte (Valcamonica)A small meadow can be found just behind the Park's house, where boulders found in prehistoric sites around Ossimo and Borno and dating back to the Copper Age (3300-2200 B.C.) have been placed.

They are a good example of the engraving technique used in that period, when smooth, engraved boulders were planted into the terrain, most likely as a ritual to honour mythical ancestors.

There are lots of other boulders from the same age waiting to be definitively placed in the future Archaeological Museum of Capo di Ponte, that will display archaeological objects excavated in Valcamonica in the last 50 years.

The Antiquarium

Between the Park's house and the Boulders' Meadow there is another small building, the Antiquarium. Right now only the room on the first floor is open to the visitors.

There we find the boulders n. 3 and 4 coming from the famous archaeological site of Cemmo, near Capo di Ponte. These are wonderful representatives of the Copper Age and are engraved with overlapping human figures, weapons and animals.

The boulder coming from Grevo, engraved with an inscription and a boat with prows shaped like the head of a water bird is from the Iron Age, same as the boulder from the Dos del Curù in Cevo, an exceptional find of 1999. On it there is the longest (five lines) inscription in the ancient alphabet of the Camunni people.

There is also a very fascinating reconstruction of the ancient engraving activity made by a priest-artist.