Neolithic in Valcamonica rock art

The Farmer's Season

Rock art: 'oranti' (prayers) on rock n. 50 of Naquane National Rock Art Park, Capo di Ponte (Valcamonica)In the VI millennium b.C. a general, favourable climatic evolution helped the spread of the revolutionary Neolithic innovations, already in use along the Danube river and the Mediterranean shores, westward and within the European continent. The new climatic conditions allowed the use of higher altitude pastures for agricultural use, and thanks to human groups that used the Neolithic technologies the Alps were infiltrated too. In the end the hunters who colonized the Valley in the first place were integrated into the new farmers society. This group of people is responsible for the final peopling of the Alps.

Clearly hunting did not disappear, it became an additional element in the economy of the community that had now a different, more dynamic and reassuring vision of its role within the natural world. From the uncertain results linked to hunting or gathering fruits in the woods the human tribes were now actively producing their own food, working the land and breeding animals.

Main technologic corollary of this new direction were the production of pottery, followed by new ways of cooking and preserving food. This is the period when the human groups decided to finally settle in one place and build stable, fix huts close one to the other to create small hamlets.

Such an important revolution in the way of life had to have an effect on how men depicted themselves.

After a long artistic break that followed an already weakened production during the Epipalaeolithic, the will to engrave rocks returned but with an all set of new revolutionary themes, not anymore focused on hunting scenes and animals, but on men and geometrical signs (rectangles, circles, dots) that, with their symbolic attributes value, seem to complete their meaning.