The Fresh Hornsi boulder area, on the right side of the Oglio River at the base of the Monticolo (Darfo Boario) hill, belongs to a series of cult sites characterizing several locations of Camonica Valley during the Copper Age (3rd millennium BCE).
The boulder, brough to notice in 1961 by Emmanuel Anati, is a big, split block of sandstone fallen from the rocky slope behind it: in the midst of the vertical face stand out nine halberds engraved to form a composition, whence the name given to the boulder, “Rock of the halberds”. The weapons were drawn life-sized, their blades about 25-30 cm long. Similar contexts, where big boulders detached from a rock wall were engraved and became part of a sacred ground, are known elsewhere in Camonica Valley: in Cemmo near Capo di Ponte and at Rock 30 at Foppe di Nadro, in the municipality of Ceto.
Typologic and iconografic comparisons, both with like weapons found in digs (Villafranca – Verona) and with similar figures engraved on other Camonica Valley boulders (Cemmo stele 3), made it possible to date these Corni Freschi figures to the late Copper Age (second half of the 3rd millennium BCE).
The discovery of new engravings
In 2002, before starting the restoration works, Lombardy’s Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici made a sample dig at the base of the boulder, to check for the existence of a possible footpath contemporary to the engravings and to obtain information on the site’s distinguishing features. The probing, made right below the engraved portion of the rock, could not reveal clues about foot treading as the area, not far from the river, turned out to have been washed by water, which removed any tracks. However, an important find emerged. About 30 cm below the present flat country surface, in a natural niche formed by the rock itself, a second composition of engraved figures was discovered: fifteen collated daggers (20 to 25 cm long), with blades pointing downward, arranged so as to follow the scheme of the above composizion of halberds. The daggers, with a round knob and triangular blade, straight sides with slanting shoulders, are chronologically contemporary to the halberds and so they too should date to the late Cpper Age.
A more extensive excavtion in front of the boulder, prior to the establishment of the site, brought to light residual traces of archaeological value (a fireplace and a beam’s hole) and made it possible to ascertain that the two compositions of weapons were engraved in a central position with respect to the surface of the boulder, as if to emphasize its importance.
In addition to the archaeological dig, some pollen analyses revealed the likely presence of a sort of small basin with lake plants in front of the boulder.
The area is near our B & B, 10 min. on foot.