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The Archaeological park of Seradina and Bedolina

Ploughing scene in Seradina archaeological park

Italy has the largest number of Unesco sites, 50 overall, and the Camonica Valley is the first place inscribed in the prestigious World Heritage List, since 1979, as “Rock Drawings in Valle Camonica”. It was an astonishing outcome, given that the Valley of Landmarks was in run with the ruins of the Roman Forum. The chronological range of the signs covers more than 10.000 years, from the Late Paleolithic until the Iron Age and over, with occurrences until the XXth century, with a wide variety of themes: hunting and fighting scenes, ploughs and looms, from concrete objects to abstract concepts, such as the famous “Camunian rose”, a symbol similar to a four-leaved clover, likely originated from the evolution of the sun icon, similar to the swastika, which has become the badge of the Regione Lombardia.

Engraved rocks are widespread in over 30 of the 41 municipalities of the Valley, mostly concentrated in the middle, around the village of Capo di Ponte, included in eight archaeological parks, open to visitors. But why such a large amount of signs in a quite enclosed area? We don’t know the reason but there are some theories that try to explain it. The area has a warm climate, unusual in the Alps: in these period we can admire the blooming of a typical Mediterranean plant, the Opuntia compressa, a sort of prickly pear, common especially in the Seradina and Bedolina Municipal archaeological Park. Another hypothesis is called “the spirit of the mountain”, an odd phenomenon that happens around the first day of the spring and the fall season: when the sun raises behind the Badile Peak, a mountain situated in the Eastern side, a big shadow appears in the sky; at sunset, a bright ray of light literally splits in two parts the top of the western Mount Concarena. The event is very appealing, surely known by the ancient Camunni: maybe they considered that such a goddess display.

In the Seradina and Bedolina Municipal archaeological Park there are various types of engravings, ploughing scenes, warriors, hunters and deers, weapons and inscriptions in the Camunic alphabet. In the highest part of the park there is the Bedolina Map, probably one of the most ancient topographic depiction of a territory, carved during the Late Bronze Age.

The Park of Seradina and Bedolina is open daily from 9.00 am to 6.00 pm and the admission is free.

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