Fig. 1. (dal rif. 1)
[...] Chronological conclusions. All the previous assertions suggest a clear need for redefining
the chronology of the Camunian “prayers”. This suggestion is motivated by archaeological comparisons, examination of the spatial distribution, associations (and dissociation) and stylistic considerations. It is mainly testified by the analysis of the superimpositions: as “prayers” superimpose Neolithic-Copper Age maps, Copper Age ploughing scenes and Ancient Bronze Age daggers it is impossible to place them in these periods. A similar conclusion is suggested by the fact that “prayers” are never associated with Remedellian and Bell-beaker elements. On the contrary the contiguity and the repeated co-occurrence of “prayers” with Iron Age figures opens the door to a Middle-Recent Bronze Age-Final Bronze Age range, probably reaching in some cases a First Iron Age chronology. This mean a XVII-VIII cent. BC theoretical range, which could be restricted by some two-three centuries (XV-VIII BC) by assuming that the bay-leaf spear point (which represents the most ancient superimposition related to an object archaeologically dated) depicted in the Costa Peta rock pertains not to the first but to the middle part of its chronological duration (1)
[..] Sardinia. Outside the Alpine range, we have many “prayers” in Sardinia (the most important area in Italy after Valcamonica regarding their diffusion), not only in Domus de Janas, but also in shelters, caves and on standing stones. Domus de Janas (“houses of the fairies”) are underground burial chambers excavated on the rock, mostly during the Ozieri Culture. They were also utilised in the subsequent Filigosa-Abealzu, Monte Claro, Bell-beakers and Bonnanaro Cultures, lasting in some cases till the Roman period, throwing away on each new burial occasion all the previous material. So it is impossible to find a direct archaeological relation with the engravings, which could belong to any of these phases. Only three tombs show engravings with anthropomorphic schematic figures: Tomba Branca at Cherèmule (SS)49 (fig. 14, 15), Tomba dell’Emiciclo and Tomba Nuova Ovest at Onifèri (NU). There is no iconographic relation between the stick figures engraved on the tombs and the Ozieri Culture, which shows on the pottery clearly different human shapes (mostly bitriangular). On the contrary stick human figures can be found on a Filigosa Culture (Copper Age) loom weight coming from Conca Illonis (Cabras) (fig. 16). It is also impossible to find a close relation between the praying figures and the common iconography of the burial chambers themselves (oxen heads, horns, spirals, architectural elements, more largely diffused than praying figures), normally carved as a structural and symmetrical element and not as a disorderly and badlydisposed pecking, as stick figures on the contrary are. It is possible then to suggest an engraving practice corresponding to a secondary utilisation phase of the tombs. Another important chronological (and interpretative) point is the similarity with the engraved Laconi menhirs, very clear in the Oniferi case, mostly for the “anchor type” figures of the Tomba Nuova Ovest (fig. 18). The engravings (bas-relief indeed) of the menhirs show “anchor-type” figures (very similar to a “prayer” without legs, but also interpretable like a stylisation of an ox figure, or, better, like a kind of fusion of a dagger figure with a horned figure) associated with metal dagger figures. The menhirs (fig. 17), in some cases re-utilised in Ancient Bronze Age structures, are referred to the full Copper Age, and the dagger-iconography compared with the well-known Remedellian phase of the Alpine statue-stelae and boulders. Passing from burial chambers to caves and shelters, the most important site is the Grotta del Bue Marino (the “Seaox cave”). Here some 20 figures with up-raised arms (fig. 13) have been engraved in a group, on a sloping rock near the sea at the main entrance of the cave, being in two cases accompanied by a circle with a central dot. Unfortunately there is no association with archaeological material, although in another branch of the cave some Ozieri pottery has been found. Another very interesting situation is presented by the schematic red painted anthropomorphs of the Luzzanas shelter (Ozieri, SS), all with lowered
arms and legs, both rounded or orthogonal, again with no archaeological association. In this case the clear similarity with various “Mediterranean” (Spain, Corse, Sicily, Puglia) situation has already been exposed. A recent trial of digital photo-enhancing revealed some double spiral and zigzagging motifs (fig. 12), very well comparable with the iconography of the Ozieri pottery.
In conclusion, while the case of Luzzanas could demonstrate a (late) Neolithic Chronology, though showing lowered arms figures, the other sites seem to indicate a middle Copper Age chronology (by comparison-relation with archaeological findings). (1)
(1) Arcà Andrea, 2001, Chronology and interpretation of the “Praying figures” in Valcamonica rock-art. In: Archeologia e arte rupestre: l’Europa – le Alpi – la Valcamonica, secondo convegno internazionale di archeologia rupestre. Atti del Convegno di studi, 2-5 ottobre 1997, Darfo Boario terme, Milano, 2001, pp. 185-198
Ndr. accludiamo il quadro temporale sardo, generalmente accettato, per orientarci: