Statue-menhirs and context: new results and an overview from the Ossimo Anvòia site (Borno Plateau, Val Camonica)

Angelo Eugenio Fossati, FEDELE Francesco

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivistapeer review


Pioneering excavations at the survey-generated Ossimo Anvòia site between 1988-2004 have provided substantial information for an understanding of Copper Age Central Alpine ceremonial sites in their context. New results from laboratory work (as of 2021), together with an improved knowledge of the regional and circum-Alpine cultural background, allow for behavioural and ideological inferences to be drawn and contribute to situate such a site in its social and physical setting. In the Val Camonica as elsewhere, statue-menhirs represented real or remembered persons with their associated “biographies”. At Anvòia they demonstrably co-acted with landscape features, non-engraved monoliths, small artefacts and ecofacts (e.g. image-making tools and pigments, pottery, evocative natural stones), and human skeletal “relics”. This archaeological context suggests a pervasive sense of place and an ideology of descent and memory. It further refutes the usual emphasis on image-bearing monoliths alone, emphasizing instead the whole site as the significant unit: a more balanced approach to the roles of statue-menhirs can thus emerge. In this paper, in addition to an overview of the site, its imagery, and criteria for interpretation, several newly restored monoliths are presented, particularly Anvòia 14 and 19. Furthermore, several hundred reused statue-menhir fragments recovered from recent pastoral structures in satellite areas attest to Anvòia’s 5000-year-long “life” as a specialized site.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)14-30
Numero di pagine17
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2021
Pubblicato esternamente


  • Statue-menhirs, ceremonial sites, object biography, Ossimo Anvòia, Val Camonica, Copper Age
  • Statues-menhirs, sites cérémoniels, biographie des objets, Ossimo-Anvòia, Val Camonica, Chalcolithique


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