Documented since the Iron Age, first millennium BCE, the mining industry marks Camonica Valley’s economy throughout historic times, becoming predominant in the 16th and 17th centuries.
The Carona mines, located north-west of the town of Sellero at about 800 mt a.s.l., are characterized by underground passages, tunnels and the remains of the labourers’ accomodations and storage area. They were exploited from the late 1800s to 1951. Rich with calcium carbonate, chalcopyrite and quartz, they also contain some copper and iron.
Of the four rock art sites only one, at Carpène, has a visitor’s route.
Leave the car in the town of Sellero, near the Re creek, then head towards the Carpène rocks through an uphill path, with some level parts. After a short walk (25-30 minutes) you get to the visitor’s area where you can admire some of the twenty or so surfaces that make up this site.
The first systematic researches in the area, which had been noticed since the 1930s, took place in the 80s when the municipal administration requested the intervention of Centro Camuno di Studi Preistorici.
In 2008, thanks to an initiative of Dipartimento Valcamonica Lombardia of Centro Camuno,the Municipal Archaeological and Mineral Park of Sellero was established, uniting the value of rock art to environmental protection.
The outcrops are characterized by a hard rock with metal veins revealing the presence of quartz. Despite the difficulty of engraving them, they were chosen by prehistoric people since the Neolithic (late 4th-early 3rd millennia BCE). The figures on display seem to indicate a pause in the engraving activity during the Copper and Bronze Ages (3rd-2nd millennia BCE) and a meaningful resumption in the Iron Age (1st millennium BCE).
Among the rocks that can be seen on the way, the great Rock 2-3 offers a display of some of the most important figures of the park. On this surface you can identify the majestic assemblage geometric elements defined by some scholars a “feminine idol”, by others a “topographic map”; the “wayfarer”, possibly a representation of the Celtic god Esus; and the largest carved “Camunian Rose” known to date.
From State Road 42 follow the signs to the town of Sellero.