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Italia    Valsusa - Roccia dell'Ascia EuroPreArt - European Prehistoric Art

Italy map
Keywords: meander, zigzag, bronze age, axe, little axe
Institution: Cooperativa Archeologica Le Orme dell'Uomo (Footsteps of Man)
Orme dell'Uomo - Footsteps of Man, Valcamonica - Italy
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Mompantero - Costa Seppa






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Mompantero, Roccia dell'Ascia (photo A. Arcà - Footsteps of Man 1990)
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Copyright. No commercial use of EuroPreArt content is allowed. Specific © for pictures and drawings is mentioned in the captions or owned by each Author or Institution.
Disclaim. The EuroPreArt project fully endorses the most recent documentation policies. It must be outlined the absolute forbidding of any disruptive method and the necessity of a total respect for archaeological sites. It is also to be noticed that no substances shall be applied to rock art for recording purposes. Some pictures of the EuroPreArt records are related to past recording techniques and may not fully match these policies. They are an historical documentation. Please refer to local archaeological official authorities for any recording purpose. Please take a look also over EuroPreArt guidelines.
Environment & Surface


1015 m
Open-air   Shelter   Cave Portable   Megalithic

Rocky slope, southward exposed, panoramic site, abandoned sheep pasture, xerophilous vegetation (Juniperus, little pine-tree), stone walls, arid and windy area, lateral morainic pudding-stone deposits.




Filladic calcschist (metamorphic rock composed by calcite and mica). This kind of rock allows the pecking technique, but is more affected by the erosion (water and wind) than the Permian sandstone, thus the siliceous component, not soluble in water, is quite resistant.


Smooth, convex, microgranulated, flat, 30° of inclination, patina

Length 1.50 m.  Width 1.50 m.  Depth 0.30 m.


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Engravings   Paintings   Painted engravings   High or low-relief   Sculpture
The three axes are quite different: the first is very large and the second much more tiny, thus of the same shape. They seem to represent a couple, like in CHM2 rock, and they overlap the underlying meandering figure. The third axe is tiny with a very thin handle, quite strictly recalling some little votive axes of the Gallo-Roman period (like in the Roman-Celtic sanctuary of Thoune - Allmendingen, Switzerland-). The pecking of the axes is also larger than the pecking of the meanders, which are more eroded. Two meandering figures take origin from the typical round little-cup-mark.

total number 35
3 axes, 1 unidentified tool connected with the axe, 5 meanders, 1 modern letter "V", sparse dots or groups of pecking


Palaeolithic   Epipalaeolithic - Mesolithic   Neolithic   Copper Age   Bronze Age   Iron Age   Roman   Middle Age   Modern   Unknown
The axes are very similar to the late Iron Age axes (I cent. BC - I cent. AD, in this period the area was occupied by the Celtic people called "Segusii", after the 9 AC the Romans). The meandering subject is a problematic one to be dated. It's possible to find a double chronological attribution: Neolithic-first Copper Age (by comparison with the meanders and the spirals of the Irish passage graves and of the megalithic art) or Bronze Age - First Iron Age (by comparison with the engravings of the Haute Maurienne French valley where such patterns seem to be related to the Iron Age topographical compositions). The study of the superimpositions in the Valsusa area testify that the meandro-spiralic pattern is overlapped by late Iron Age figures, like the axes of this rocks which clearly cut the meanders.


Looking at the engraved surface in the complex it seems evident that the rock has been reversed, probably coming from the terrace above. In this case it is possible that the slab was dressed, like a stele. The entire area was terraced and cultivated (vines, potatoes) till the '50-'60s. No water available if not through artificial channels. It's one of the possible ways to reach the top of the Rocciamelone mountain (more than 3500 m), the highest mountain in the Susa valley, where traditional pilgrimage is still practised (the Holy Mary of the Rocciamelone,

European total bibliography, by EuroPreArt partnersTotal (Europe)
Italia EuroPreArt general bibliography, by Cooperativa Archeologica Le Orme dell'Uomo (Footsteps of Man)General (country)
Specific Valsusa - Roccia dell'Ascia bibliography, by Cooperativa Archeologica Le Orme dell'Uomo (Footsteps of Man)Specific (site)
Rock Art Studies: A Bibliographic worldwide Database (external link). Compiled by Leigh Marymor. Copyright (C) 2001-2002 by the Library, University of California, Berkeley Bibliographic
Rock Art




Public   Private   Park   Classified site


Figures are visible only on a grazing light. The site is poorly attended, thus some people is passing with motorbikes along the mountain path (the rock is just on the path). The surface is affected by the erosion. The area is rarely covered by snow.


Good   Quite good   Mediocre   Bad


The rock has been completely recorded (International western Alps rock art record), traced (contact tracing and digital vectorial rendition), photographed (normal light and grazing light colour slides) under enchargement of the Archaeological Superintendence of Piedmont. More info (Italian version) at and




Andrea Arcà


Cooperativa Archeologica Le Orme dell'Uomo (Footsteps of Man)
         Record n. 500 / 807
No commercial use is allowed. Specific © is mentioned in the captions or owned by each Author or Institution  
GOTO all records list    |    Viewing record 500 / 807 of euro.dbf          First Previous Next Last

NEW: Alpine rock paintings
enter the Balma dei Cervi Virtual Museum and surf the Virtual Tour: spherical pano-views,
hi-def flat photos and tracings

EuroPreArt, European Prehistoric Art, is a web-based archaeological project funded by the European Union which aims to establish a lasting data-base of European prehistoric art documentation, to launch the base of an European institutional network and to contribute to the awareness of the diversity and richness of European Prehistoric Art.
It is proposed by: Instituto Politécnico de Tomar (IPT, Portugal), CUEBC - European University Centre for Cultural Heritage (Italy - Europe), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (España), Asociación Cultural Colectivo Barbaón (España), Université de Liège (Belgique), Gotland University College (Sverige), University College Dublin (Eire), Cooperativa Archeologica Le Orme dell'Uomo (Italia), Study Centre and Museum of Prehistoric Art of Pinerolo (Italia), The European Centre for Prehistoric Research in the Alto Ribatejo (Portugal), ArqueoJovem - a youth NGO (Portugal).
Instituto Politécnico de Tomar - Portugal CUEBC - European University Centre for Cultural Heritage, Ravello - Italy CSIC - Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Madrid - Spain Orme dell'Uomo - Footsteps of Man, Valcamonica - Italy Asociación Cultural Colectivo Barbaón, Extremadura -Spain Liège University - Belgium Gotland University - Sweden University College Dublin - Ireland CeSMAP - Centro Studi e Museo d'Arte Preistorica. Pinerolo, Italy Arqueo Jovem

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