Ciappo delle Conche

The rock carvings of Finale: prehistoric art in danger

The rock carvings of Ciappo delle Conche, like most of the graffiti from Finale, are carved in Finale Stone, scientifically called Finale Ligure Limestone, datable to the oligo-miocene age (28-11 million years ago circa), originating from the marine sedimentary successions that produced conglomerates and bioclastic limestone cemented together by calcite, with a colour that goes from white to pink, essentially constituted by remains of corals and shell fragments, echinoids and shark teeth.

In the local dialect the large Finale stone slabs with graffiti are called “ciappi”. “Ciappo delle Conche” or Ciappu de Cunche in local dialect constitutes the first slab of stone with graffiti discovered and studied in Finale. In fact, the correspondence between Clarence Bicknell and geologist Arturo Issel, the greatest expert in the second half of the 19th century for prehistoric research in Liguria, documents that Finale, with thanks to the British scholar, was one of the first areas in Europe to reveal these typical manifestations.

MORE INFORMATION – Ciappo delle Conche

In a 1898 letter Bicknell was reporting to Issel about the carvings of the Ciappu de Cunche, by sending along with the letter a sketch so to reach the locality close to Orco Feglino; in the letter he states to have seen the graffiti during a hike he had done in 1883 with an English woman when he was staying for the winter in Finale Ligure.

The Ciappu de Cunche presents for the territory of Finale the majority of carvings and structures (vessels, small channels, cupels) appropriate for collecting water. Among the most notable carvings we can indicate the anthropomorphic stylized figures, probably from the Iron age, the compartmentalized rectangles analogous to those that are in Monte Bego and an asterisk, extremely worn, typical sun motif of the Metal ages. Some representations (so-called ships and trains) are clearly from the historic age and are relatable to a period between the 17th and the end of the 19th century.

One must consider that for almost all of the rocks of Finale, not only Ciappu de Cunche, the absence of deposits and archaeological stratigraphies that seal the carvings, unfortunately, prevent any possible context useful to precise a sure cultural belonging referable to the panorama of knowledge about the Metal ages in Finale, limiting the cultural classifications to typological and stylistic comparisons, integrated by observations on how they were made.

Close to the carvings there is, furthermore, a natural shelter, known as “the throne” with evident traces of anthropic activities made for making the in the cave a sort of seat with niches in the walls.

The rock carvings were unfortunately damaged by vandals at the end of the previous century where they added new graffiti on the walls and, more recently, they were damaged by the passage of mountain bikes and inappropriate shoes, the same thing happened in the sites of Ciappo del Sale and Ciappo dei Ceci.

HOW TO REACH

CIAPPO DELLE CONCHE

How to reach the site

The site can be reached by bike or on foot from Orco or from the San Bernardino plateau. It is forbidden to walk or cycle over the carvings.

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