The Rock Drawings of Valcamonica: a symposium for the 40 years in the UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites

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CAPO DI PONTE, OCTOBER 27TH- Forty years ago, the Rock Drawings in Valcamonica became the first Italian site to be included in the UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites. To mark the anniversary, the Camun Centre of Prehistoric Studies decided to dedicated its XXVII Valcamonica Symposium to this celebration. The meeting, held at Capo di Ponte in the province of Brescia, aims to allow encounters and exchanges among researchers and administrators engaged in the study and safeguarding of the rock drawings patrimony. The annual assembly of PRAT -CARP Cultural Itineraries of the Council of Europe, under the theme “The walk of prehistoric rock drawings in Europe”- will be held simultaneously.

Valcamonica, situated in the Lombardy plain, has one of the world’s greatest collections of prehistoric petroglyphs – more than 140,000 symbols and figures carved in the rock over a period of 8,000 years and depicting themes connected with agriculture, navigation, war and magic. Their inscription in the List of World Heritage Sites was originally proposed by Emmanuel Anati, director of the Camun Centre of Prehistoric Studies, and by Sandro Fontana, who at the time was the Culture Councilor of the Region of Lombardy. The proposal was accepted in relation to criteria III and VI of UNESCO, and following an ICOMOS valuation, as they “stretch over a period of eight thousand years leading up to our present era, making these human renderings absolutely invaluable” and they “constitute an extraordinary figurative documentation of prehistoric customs and mentality. The systematic interpretation, typological classification, and the chronological study of these configurations in stone represent a considerable contribution to the fields of prehistory, sociology and ethnology”.

The petroglyphs were chosen not only for their unique historical and archaeological importance, but also for the quality of the studies correlated with this site, which have opened new horizons for the comprehension of human culture.

The event in Capo di Ponte is organized in collaboration with the Cooperative “The footsteps of men” and with the Patronage of: the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities, ICCROM, ICOMOS, the National Italian Commission for Unesco -with the participation of Secretary General Enrico Vicenti- the Lombardy Region, the Province of Brescia, the Montana Community of Valle Camonica -Cultural District, the comune of Capo di Ponte and PRAT- and the Community of Brescia Foundation. (SB@OnuItalia)