Footsteps of Man (Orme dell'Uomo)
Valcamonica - Italy
- EuroPreArt database management and Webmaster: Andrea Arcà
- Western Alps records: Andrea Arcà
- Central Alps records: Angelo Fossati, Elena Marchi
The Footsteps of Man Archaeological Co-operative Society (Società Cooperativa Le Orme dell’Uomo) was founded in 1988. It is based in the village of Cerveno in Val Camonica, a valley in the Italian Central Alps north of the town of Brescia. Val Camonica is one of Europe’s renown areas of prehistoric art, where hundreds of thousands of ancient carvings are found on glacier-polished sandstone surfaces. This prehistoric art treasure, made thousands of years ago, was placed in UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1979.
Le Orme dell’Uomo operates in a field of archaeology called Rupestrian Archaeology. It focuses its attention mainly on two areas: the research and study of rock-art; and the publication, dissemination and promotion of the results. The Cooperativa became part of the International Federation of Rock Art Organizations (IFRAO) in 1991.
Research and documentation
The Society, in response to requests from archaeological authorities and museums, supplies accurate graphic and photographic documentation, as well as reports and studies of specific areas.
At present, research is carried out in the Italian Alps (Val Camonica, Valtellina, Valsusa, Valcenischia, Val Germanasca, Valle Po, Valchiusella and the Asiago Plateau), bringing in detailed and accurate records of this region’s important carved and painted rocks. The archives (tracing, drawings and photographs) are open to scholars and students searching for information about rock-art of the Alps and other areas of the world.
During the summer months, the Society organises fieldwork and courses for scholars, students and enthusiasts. This gives them the chance to learn about Rupestrian Archaeology, its techniques and methodology. Most of the activities are in Val Camonica but they also take place in different areas of northern Italy and abroad. Research takes place in various countries, in association with universities and archaeological museums. Fieldwork has been carried out in Montesinho Natural Park (Portugal, 1992-1994), Côa Valley Archaeological Park (Portugal, 1996), Lamelas - Ribeira da Pena (Portugal, 1997) and the Nile Valley (Egypt 1998).
The Society plans and produces travelling exhibitions that tour archaeological museums, universities, libraries, schools and cultural centres. Previous ones toured northern and central Italy. Internationally, Italian Cultural Centres and Embassies sponsored shows in India, Portugal, Austria, Thailand and Singapore.
Prominent exhibitions were made together with museums, heritage management bodies and universities. These were Immagini di un’aristocrazia (1991), Le Pietre degli Dei (1994), Deer in India and Europe (1994) and Immagini dalla Preistoria (1996).
The Society organises field trips for schools and private groups to see rock-art in Italy and abroad. The programmes include walking tours around the National Rock-Engravings Park of Naquane and other rock art areas in Val Camonica and Valtellina.
The Society can organise seminars for museums, schools, libraries and cultural centres. Members of the Society explain the most important aspects of their work and the archaeological field in which they operate, illustrating their talks with slides and multimedia material.
The Footsteps of Man has organised several scientific meetings such as the 1st and 2nd International Congress of Rupestrian Archaeology (1992, 1997) in which the state of research was presented and discussed. Local colloquia took place in 1989, 1991, 1995 and 1997.
The Co-operative produces of one the most well known rock-art sites on the Web, www.rupestre.net, with specific sections related to the Alpine Rock Art and to educational programs and activities. It hosts Tracce, the first rock-art bulletin online. The Rockartnet links page allows people to visit numerous sites about rock-art—homepages, associations and many more.
The publications of the Society include guides to the major rock-art sites in Val Camonica (theValcamonica Preistorica series), monographs (the Ricerche Archeologiche series) and educational themes (the Quaderni didattici series).
The Footsteps of Man Archaeological Society
Cooperativa Archeologica Le Orme dell'Uomo
Piazza Donatori di Sangue, 1 25040 CERVENO (Bs)
Tel. 0364-433983 Fax. 0364-434351
Email: cont@ct form