CAMONICA VALLEY by Emmanuel Anati


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The name of the Camunian tribe appears on lists of Cisalpine peoples conquered by the Romans. Strabo and Pliny refer to them. But as late as fifty years ago, there was no material proof they every really existed. In 1914 shepherds brought to light a carved rock in the valley, and in the 1930's other carved rocks engendered a flurry of interest and study. The discovery of new petroglyphs in the 1950's brought Anati to the valley to make a detailed investigation. He examined 600 engraved rocks over a fifty mile area and by a painstaking analysis of 20,000 carvings, he was able to piece together the 2000 year history of a forgotten people whose independent existence ended when they were absorbed by the Roman empire in 16 B. C. Anati traces the Camunians from their earliest beginnings through epochs of cultural development to their silent disappearance. What he reveals is a people who, although they engaged in trade, kept pretty much to themselves. Separate though they were, they were also responsive to outside cultural influences. Their petroglyphic gallery reveals the pervasiveness of cultural exchanges in pre-historic Europe and the persistence of certain traits and attitudes which can be traced to the modern era. There is a growing belief among scholars that much of present day European society and culture was well established in prehistoric times. Anati reinforces that view, and he must be commended for a fascinating glimpse into the life of a forgotten people and perhaps an insight into ourselves.

Pub Date: Nov. 13th, 1961
Publisher: Knopf