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A bit of history


Mount RocceRé hosts one of the most important Bronze Age rock art sites in Italy, together with those of Valtellina and Val Camonica (with over two hundred thousand engravings, the largest complex of prehistoric art in Europe). It is a unique archaeological site of its kind in Europe since, in an area of ​​about 25,000 square meters, many cup marks (artificial hemispherical hollows dug into the rock) have been discovered, the estimated number of which currently amounts to 35,000 units. Cup-shaped engravings are also present in various parts of the world: Jordan, Israel, the Hawaiian Islands, Azerbaijan, Chile, Finland, Scotland, Spain, Galicia, Italy (Sardinia and Piedmont in particular). This practice, in fact, represents a symbolism common to many peoples who, in the past, have carried out engravings with similar techniques in various places around the globe. This singular peculiarity can be explained thanks to migratory processes: the first flows date back to the Neolithic in 7000 BC. starting from Syria, Iraq and Jordan and then arriving in Europe. To understand this phenomenon it is therefore necessary to take a step back in time at least 5,000 years.



When we speak about petroglyphs we are commonly led to think of prehistoric graffiti, which are usually present in caves or on open-air slabs and have been found in various places in our area and beyond, such as in Val Camonica in Italy or in the Valley of Wonders in France: graffiti referred to in the history and art books themselves.
There is, however, a whole other vein, object of study by archaeologists and researchers, relating to sites in which very singular petroglyphs have been found, made with a different technique from graffiti: these are the cup-markshemispherical rock engravings, of which multiple finds have been documented in the world and whose concentration on Mount RocceRé 
and is particularly significant. 

The Masso Altare 


A large disc-shaped boulder, engraved with an arched figure made up of seven large cup marks. The boulder, located on top of a spectacular gneiss tower, with sheer walls of about 80-90 meters, not far from the anthropomorphic engraving symbol of RocceRé depicting a boss or a shaman

An ancient legend of Roccabruna, handed down from father to son, tells that on the RocceRé in very distant times, animals were killed by throwing them from these high towers.

The Throne of the King, gate of the gods 


Of considerable size, with a width of about one meter, a height of two meters and a depth of 60 cm.

The rock of which it is composed is highly stratified and fissured, therefore easily removable, revealing the probable anthropic origin. Renamed "throne” by scholars, because it looks like a seat. The door of the Throne of the King appears incredibly similar to two other ravines, at the archaeological sites of Machu Picchu and Hayu Marca in Peru. The latter is known as the Puerta de Hayu Marca or Gate of the Gods, that is, according to legend, a real portal between worlds. 

Balmascura cave 

Inside there is a perennial precious source of water. In front of the cave, at about 20 meters, the majestic balconies engraved with cup marks of the Massi Isoardi. Above the cave there are numerous engraved cup marks. The second anthropomorphic discovered right near this cave, suggests that the same was in that distant period the home of the (or of) the shaman or priest or "king" who followed one another in these places and who were very probably the creators of those many cups and figures present on the site.

Solar calendar


Presence of seven alignments by cup-shaped channels, window-drilled rocks and boulders positioned as indicators, all oriented exactly or with a minimum imprecision at equinoxes and solstices.

Were studied by researchers many similar cases in the world: Stonehenge in England, some pyramids, on the Malta island, cromlech of Piccolo S. Bernardo and others.

Very similar alignments have been traced on the RocceRé, but in a certain sense very particular: the fact that in some cases the alignments are created by nature appears enigmatic, but the presence of the hand of man is also strongly noted

Rock painting


This painting, discovered in 2011, increases considerably the importance of the site because rock paintings in our country are very rare. It is also the confirmation that the RocceRé has been frequented for a period of time that goes beyond the millennia. A reference to the paleolithic period and a confirmation in this sense could be supported by a dating with radio-carbon, as the painting has organic material. With this discovery, the RocceRé archaeological site crossed national borders: in May 2013, the painting was presented at the world assembly of the IFRAO, in New Mexico (USA), by the Study Center and Rock Art of Pinerolo: it is interpreted as an anthropomorphic figure with large raised hands (typical element of representations referring to the Paleolithic period), or a zoomorphic figure with large cervid antlers placed above the head. 

Archaeological site

RocceRé, the most significant stages of the last 50 years
MagazineCuneo Province of Granda publishes an article reporting the presence of some cup marks on the top of the mountain, identified during an excursion from Robert Isoardi, passionate connoisseur of the place (of which he is defined as the "guardian") e Luigi Massimo, expert in alpine history and architecture, author of the article.
Riccardo Baldi, a scholar of history and prehistory, discovers the existence of the site, with the discovery of first 3,000 cup marks, other engravings, a unique anthropomorphic figure, alignments. Two years later, this discovery was published in the Bulletin of the Study Center of Pinerolo Survey, then distributed to various Rock Art Study Centers around the world. The same year, in 1993, the site is surveyed by Archaeological Superintendency in the Archaeological Map of the Piedmont region.
The enhancement of the site by the Municipality of Roccabruna, whose Administration is beginning to show interest and attention towards this territorial area: a first official meeting is held on the matter in the council room in the presence of Riccardo BaldiWalter Isoardi and the Municipal Administration headed by the mayor in office, Claudio Garnero.
New explorations of the site by Walter Isoardi, discovering further boulders, later called Massi Isoardi, from the name of the discoverer, as well as other engravings on boulders in the area of Roccias Fenestre, raising the number of engravings estimated at 35,000
The Supervision for the archaeological heritage of Piedmont requires that the site be identified and bounded as Area at archaeological risk. The mapping works, the creation of a new visitor routeArchaeological excavations and enhancement notices are the responsibility of the architect Claudio Ellena.
The RocceRé site is officially presented at the world assembly of the IFRAO - International Federation of Rock Art Organizations (the largest rock art organization in the world, involving 43 countries, chaired by Dr. Robert G. Bednarik, world-renowned archaeologist), in New Mexico by Prof. Dario Seglie, Director of the Study Center and Museum of Prehistoric Art of Pinerolo, with the contribution of Riccardo Baldi and Jane Colbert, archaeologist from New York, thus crossing national borders and starting to embark on what will prove to be a prestigious path.
Walter Isoardi deepens the study of alignments and solar calendar, with the discovery on the Masso Altare of a cup-shaped channel oriented towards the dawn of the equinoxes. The archaeoastronomer physicist Guido Cossard, visiting the site, interprets the analogy between some cupped figures, identified on site, and possible corresponding constellations. The study is becoming more and more detailed and the research is also joined by the physicist Alberto Cora, who often accompanies Isoardi on excursions on Mount RocceRé, and the geologist Enrico Collo, which had already started field studies previously.
The first archaeological excavations of RocceRé with finds of ceramic finds which determine the scientific proof of the dating of the site to the Bronze Age.
The discovery is complete with the discovery by Walter Isoardi of further alignments of natural and anthropic pseudo-Dolmen oriented both to the equinoxes and to the winter solstice and the summer solstice.
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