ROCK 12 SERADINA I
The wide surface is one of the most important and best–known in the whole Valcamonica rock art and is marked by a combination of themes which makes it unique in the context of the local Iron Age.
The central part of the rock is occupied by the imposing scene of a procession of spear–holding horsemen hunting deer and followed by dogs. The hounds are unusually represented here with their jaws wide open and their tongue clearly visible. The hunting horseman theme is not uncommon in the rock art areas of the western valley side of Middle Valcamonica and may probably underline the aristocratic status of the carved figures. The latter in fact showed their high social status and wealth right through the possession of a horse, which constituted a rare and precious good in prehistoric times.
The deer with “solar” antlers are very different from the ones that can be found, for example, on the great R. 1 of Naquane. They are spread only in a few other rocks of the Corno di Seradina and recall some ancient themes already present on the monuments of the very close Massi di Cemmo National Park.
In the same way the six ploughing scenes discovered on this rock can be interpreted as an Iron Age revival of a theme already present two thousand years before. The agriculture scenes are marked in this case by a couple of yoked horses replacing the previous oxen, led almost always by a human being holding a hoe and sometimes followed by erotic scenes. The symbolic value of this kind of representation associates, in what it seems a fertility rite, the woman to the earth and, at the same time, the death–rebirth concepts of funerary cults and the ritual ploughing of foundation rites.
On a small portion to the north end of the rocky outcrop there are many small figures probably made by the same artist. This panel seems to draw the inspiration from the classical themes of an hypothetical Valcamonica élite
class of warrior–chiefs: ploughing scenes connected to erotic ones, hunters and dogs chasing goats, horsemen hunting “solar” deer, fighting scenes with attendants, tiny bird figures, etc.
There are noteworthy analogies between the subjects carved here and the so–called Situla Art, which is a phenomenon spread in the Venetic, Raetian and Slovenian region of the Middle Iron Age (6th–4th centuries BC). Situla Art is marked by the same graphic icons — processions, ploughing scenes, erotic scenes, hunting, boxing, fighting, etc. — and seems to celebrate the local élite
through the decoration of precious bronze vessels made for a prestigious offering or to be reused as cinerary urns or turned into part of rich grave goods.
R. 12 is carved as well with plenty of fighting couples and isolated representations of ancient mythical epics. This is, for example, the case of a curious composition showing a human being armed with a square–bladed axe catching with his bare hand a big snake, while a second snake seems to be ridden by a small human being.
Another striking feature of R. 12 is the high frequency of water birds engraved here in a particularly stylized way. R. 12, along with a few others of the Corno (such as R. 7), makes this area one of the richest concerning this subject in the whole Middle Valley, though the birds are usually almost completely absent in other sites of the western valley and are, on the contrary, particularly frequent between Foppe di Nadro, Naquane and Campanine (eastern side).
(Cited from Alberto Marretta in Marretta and Cittadini Valcamonica rock art parks. Guide to visiting routes, Edizioni del Centro, 2011, pp. 147-150)
ROCK 12 SERADINA I / PHOTOGRAPHY
© Centro Camuno di Studi Preistorici, 2012, author Alberto Marretta (2004).ROCK 12 SERADINA I / SURVEY
CCSP, 2005. © CCSP 2012, author Marretta Alberto.