The archaeological research
First let’s clarify a few facts about legislation. In Italy, as in all countries rich with history, an archaeological site is state property, that is, it belongs to all citizens. The state has set up a special ministry, the “Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali”, also called MiBAC, which, through its auxiliary wings (the Archaeological Superintendencies) takes care of the conservation and the maintenance of these properties. The rock art heritage, being also a cultural archaeological property, is subject to the Ministry’s jurisdiction and to the state conservation policy and in particular to the Legislative Decree of January 22nd, 2004, n. 42, namely the “Code of Cultural Properties and Landscape”.
The Ministry, according to this law, is duty-bound to direct the researches in order to safeguard the archaeological properties (art. 88, D.Lgs. 42/2004), but doing this all alone would be a heroic feat. In fact, the law states that various research bodies, such as CNR, universities and museums, can get permission to do some field research through the institute of ministerial concession (art. 89, D.Lgs. 42/2004).
But what should a private citizen do if s/he stumbles into an archaeological object or an engraved rock? This kind of find is referred to as “fortuitous discovery” and must be promptly reported to the qualified authorities. The finder must firstly make sure that the property does not risk being damaged, then report the find to the Superintendence, either directly or through a local body or a policeman on duty (art. 90, D.Lgs. 42/2004).
The law entrusts the Ministry with the additional task to superintend all the operations aimed at preventing damage on the archaeological find, thus directing some practices that may otherwise be performed inadequately, such as contact tracing, restoration and reproduction by photography or by chalk moulds.
As regards moulds, conservation law banned the making of such practices on cultural properties including engraved rocks (art. 107, D.Lgs. 42/2004 “Code of Cultural Properties and Landscape” and Ministerial Order of April 20th, 2005 “Ministry of Cultural Properties and Activities. Policies, criteria e instructions for the reproduction of cultural properties, according to article 107 of the legislative decree of January 22nd, 2004, n. 42”.). Moulding, as a matter of fact, can damage the rock and cause exfoliation, thus removing the art itself or releasing altering substances onto the surface.
Archaeological research in Camonica Valley
Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali
Lombardy’s Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici has some archaeological digs in progress (directed by Dr. R. Poggiani Keller) at the sites of Cemmo (Capo di Ponte) and Pat (Ossimo), where the finds concern two important megalithic shrines, utilized in the Copper Age (3rd millennium BCE) marked by engraved stones and steles.
It directs also the researches on the rock art heritage in the Municipality of Edolo in collaboration with Università degli Studi of Florence-Department of Sciences of Ancient Times, Middle Ages, Renaissance and Linguistics (Chair in Prehistory, Prof. F. Martini) and also the tracing works made by the Municipality of Capo di Ponte (A. Marretta) in the Seradina-Bedolina Archaeological Municipal Park.
In the site of Borno Valzel de Undine, known for the 1953 find of boulder “Borno 1” and the following finds of engraved monoliths from the Copper Age, the Superintendence is leading archaeological studies in the megalithic Copper Age shrine (2009-2011 digs).
In Cevo, at Dos Curù there is a research in progress on a mining village from the 4th-5th cen. BCE with long rectangular houses, at about 2,000 mt a.s.l. Research coordinator: R. Poggiani Keller with the collaboration of C. Ravazzi-CNR IDPA, for archaeopalynological and palaeobotanic researches, and Prof. C. Giardino for archaeometallurgic studies.
Research grants into effect
Direzione Generale per le Antichità
Centro Camuno di Studi Preistorici e Dipartimento Valcamonica e Lombardia
The research activity, with ministerial permission, is run by the Dipartimento (directed by Dr. E. Anati and Dr. U. Sansoni) on the engraved rocks located inside the Rock Engravings Reserve of Ceto, Cimbergo and Paspardo in the areas of Campanine, Figna, Dos del Pater and Pagherina.
Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Bresciaof Brescia-Philology and History Institute
The operation carried out by the University (directed by Dr. A.E. Fossati) examines the engraved rocks of Val del Plaha-Bial do le Scale and Dos Sulif in the municipality of Paspardo, situated within the Rock Engravings Regional Reserve of Ceto, Cimbergo and Paspardo.