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Sul Caprione si rinvengono cinque luoghi sacri megalitici, posizionati secondo la figura della Costellazione di Cassiopea. Per comprendere il limitato, ad oggi, fenomeno megalitico ligure sono state presentate le risultanze delle analisi geologiche compiute sul promontorio. Il fenomeno megalitico così analizzato deve essere inteso nel senso letterale del termine, cioè come utilizzo da parte dell’uomo di grandi pietre, e non come “religione delle sepolture multiple in dolmen”. L’eventuale datazione di reperti di paleo-astronomia può essere fatta ricorrendo a calcoli computerizzati effettuati con programmi che consentono di ricostruire con sufficiente precisione scenari astronomici vecchi di 10 000 anni.
This paper would like to be the starting point to try understand the ”megalithic culture” in eastern Liguria, especially since there is a lack of archaeological findings owing to the relatively recent interest to this subject.

Some years ago, while studying the morphology of Oscan and Celtic toponyms on the Caprione (Fig 1, in the background the snow-covered Apuane”s Alps), the most eastern promontory of the Liguria Riviera (Fig. 2) (Oscan etymology kaprum = scapegoat) we have discovered five holy megalithic (literal meaning = big stones) places, not reciprocally visible.

Using holism we performed geological analyses to demonstrate the presence of human work on creating these megalithic structures (E. Calzolari & D. Gori, 1999) although these analyses cannot be used as a specific dating test they do show that there has been no recent anthropological action.

We have checked that the megalithic places are located near faults, fractures, dolines, and ancient water springs.
While studying connections between geology and geobiology, we have laid out the five holy megalithic places in a Nautical Chart (I.I.M., 1995) and in some Regional Technical Maps (1:5 000) and used G.P.S. (Global Positioning System) coordinates to verify that they are located according to the Cassiopea Constellation (Fig. 3).

In Egyptian hieroglyphics, Cassiopeia”s constellation mark is a water symbol (Gimbutas M., 1990; Petrioli E., 1996) and geological analyses have put in evidence a large quantity of karst forms, referable to a lot of emerging sources that, in the past, gushed out on the Caprione.

The hypothesis of a large abundance of water has been confirmed by various paleoclimatic studies that show how the temperature of the water surface was, in the Tyrrhenian Sea, between 6 000 B.C. and 2 500 B.C., 2° – 3° C lower than in previous period (8 000 B.C. – 6 000 B.C.) .This provides for a cycle of cooler and damper summers, characterized by very abundant precipitations (Kallen N. et alii, 1997; Zonneveld Karin A.F., 1996).

The first shamanism”s point is that the human spirits in the sky-constellation, that are called ”generating-constellation”; after the life on the Earth, the human spirits return to those ”generating-constellation”.
During this voyage to return to the ”generating-constellation”, the spirits are bird, butterfly or bee shaped; this fact is called ”embodiment of the principle of Transformation” (Streep P., 1994).

In Asian populations (Mongolia) it”s still in force the religious belief that spirits, before becoming incarnate, are born near a constellation, to which they will return after death (Rappenglück M., 1998). The constellation of the Great Bear, among the Mongols, usually called the constellation of the Seven Old Men, was also invoked as a god of destiny (W. Heissig, 1969).

For the Buriati people this role is done by Pleiads (De Toffol D. & Bellatalla D. , 1997; Kalweit H. , 1996) while for Egyptians this role was performed by Orion. For the Celtic people of the Iron age, Orion was the spirit generating constellation, while for the Sami population of Lapponia, Perseus and Cassiopeia formed the image of the sacred elk, a shamanic – totem archetype (Gaspani A. 1998).

The Australian tribe of Wotjoballuk used the Cruxconstellation (Di Cesare V., 1996) while the Maya used Saggitarius (Harris J.N., 1998).
The Cassiopea Costellation evidently performed a similar function for the people of Caprione (Fig. 4 A today”s constellation at the beginning of the nautical twilight, in San Lorenzo site)

In this site there is a cylindrical phallic structure (Fig. 5), characterized from the presence on the summit of seven ”cup-marks”, with that central greatest. The petrographic analysis (Chiari R.) has allowed to establish that this rock (Dolomia Saccaroide – Portovenere”s Unit) is made up by coarse-medium Dolomite (62-1 000 micron) from sub-euedral to sub-planar, with ”saddle” crystals (up to cm ½) with displacive dedolomitization. These ”cup-marks” would seem, at sight, karst microformes (natural origin) but the extraordinary circular symmetry of this system, not found in the surrounding rocks, leans for a natural-anthropic mixed form.

In the San Lorenzo”s site, at summer solstice sunset, the sun light produces, through a Quadrilithon opening (Fig. 6), a ”gilded butterfly” image (Fig. 7). The Quadrilithon is a Trilithon evolution (trilithon = three stones characterized by two vertical elements and a lintel, that in this structure is made as a lozenge) completed by a stone placed across the lower space between the upright stones. The bright phenomenon appeares from 20:15 (Az. 295.7° – El. 7.6° – GUIDE 7.0.) to 20:35 (Az. 299.1° – El. 4.4° – GUIDE 7.0.) Summer time.

The computerized elaboration of the sunset”s trajectory to the summer”s solstice (Fig. 8, chart generated with Guide 7.0 Star Chart and subsequently modified), applied to the geographical coordinates of San Lorenzo”s site; the red circles represent today”s summer solstice sunset”s trajectory while the yellow circles represent 5 000 B.C. (temporal reference to the terracotta figurine of Passo di Corvo, to see below) summer solstice sunset”s trajectory.
The heights are perfectly compatible with forming some phenomenon, that happened with a small delay with respect to today”s (+ 5 minutes).

Marija Gimbutas had interpreted the ”butterfly like the soul that transmigrates” toward the generating-constellation (Gimbutas M., 1990) and ”holds that the butterfly is the embodiment of the principle of Transformation” (Streep P., 1994). The same meaning is recognized in the ”Jahrbuch der Gesellschaft fur vergleichende Felsbildforschung -1985/1986” in which we may read: ”Gegeneinander gestellte dreiecke konnen auch fur die wiedergeburt, hier an der sonnwendlinie fur auf und untergang des jahres empfunden werden” (two opposite triangles may also be known as rebirth sign, here for the alignments of the sun at the solstitial sunrise and sunset).

In the Grecian language the word Psyché means the human soul and in the Grecian Dionysian myth Psyché is represented as a girl with butterfly wings, which loves Love, symbolized by the Sun! The syncretism present in the Grecian language is proof of a more ancient tradition.

In Mexico they use to design a red butterfly on the back of the dead (Eve Ewing, personal communication in La Laguna, 1999) and in the Sonora Desert it is like ”guardian angel”. The symbol of the butterfly is also presente in Chile, in the Mapuché people (Carlos Gonzalez Vargas, 1999). In South Italy the little white butterflies are considered the souls leaving Purgatory (Romeo Frigiola, personal communication, 1998).

For the Celtic people of Ireland and France the human souls were embodied in the butterflies (Cattabiani A., 1998).
It”s interesting to notice like the symbols of the butterfly and the M of Cassiopea are also present in the most ancient runic alphabet, found on runes with literary function, known like Elder Futhark; the ”M” of Cassiopea is represented by the rune Ehwaz (function of metaphysical transport and power) and the butterfly is represented by the rune Dagaz (the day, the light that returns after the darkness, here the rebirth) [Tarahill -> v. risorse ].

The Cassiopea mark and the butterfly double-symbology is found in a ”terracotta” figurine (cm 6,5 x 2; Fig. 9, from M. Gimbutas – 1990 ) recovered in Passo di Corvo (Foggia, Daunia, South-Italy) the greatest village of European Neolithic period (Tiné S., 1983).
This statuette, dated 5 300 B.C. – 5 700 B.C., represents a female figure with half-open eyes, in an altered conscience condition (contemplation, ecstasy?). The afore-mentioned symbols are under both breasts. In this statuette in hieratic attitude (Tiné S., 1983) you can observe like nostrils are marked by two small holes, one of which preserves red pigment traces (Tiné S., 1983).

The before-mentioned author suspects that other parts have been coloured, but he doesn”t produce the consequent hypothesis, and the most coherent in this contest, that the red pits were the blood that came down from the shamanic woman”s nose while in a trance-like condition (Solomon A., 1997).
An ulterior confirmation to this hypothesis can be deduced by the Cavillon Grotto”s Tomb excavations, near Grimaldi (Imperia – Ligurian Riviera) where a statuette has been recovered which is characterized by an ochre filled furrow (cm 18 long) that departed from the nose till the mouth (Leroi-Gourhan A.,1970). Professor Tiné notices butterflies and he recognizes like the statuette may represent a divinity, perhaps the Mother Goddess, or that it was consecrated to her, but he assimilates the zigzag marks to grass snakes (non poisonous).

In front of Caprione there are Apuane”s Alps, and in Mount Sagro (latin etym. sacrum = holy) there is a mark of Cassiopeia made by five cupellas near Vergheto village (Fig. 10) (etym.= verga, the shepperd staff).The geographic area in which the Caprione promontory and the Apuane”s Alps are, is called Lunigiana, after the ancient Roman town of Luni.
This exceptional coincidence strengthens identities that Lunigiana and Daunia show either in toponomy research or in female statue-stele presence (Gimbutas M., 1990).

Site N. 3 BRANZI
Next to the Campo de Già doline we have found a great ara (cm 320 long, cm 220 wide and cm 60 of thickness) lozenge shaped and broken in three parts; it”s above an inside hollow cylindrical shaped base (cm 80 of thickness) characterized by two symmetrical passer-by holes. This structure appears enigmatic in function and origin.
The petrographic analysis (Chiari R.) has allowed us to establish that this structure is made up of:
Ara”s Base: medium Dolomite (62-250 micron), euedral/sub-planar. Normal (meteoric) dedolomitization along the fractures and on pressolution paragenesis (Chlorite-quartz-Pirrotite) = Dolomia Saccaroide (Portovenere”s Unit).

Ara”s Table: coarse Dolomite (250-1 000 micron), euedral/planar, clear, luminescent. No dedolomitization.
The Base is made up by Dolomia saccaroide (rock outcropping on the Caprione) while the Table litotype don”t have characteristics found in other promontory outcropping and probably it has an extra-Caprione origin.

This site is located on high ground and it”s circumscribed by a primitive stone wall (italian word ”muretti a secco”); there are two probable accesses (both on the north side) the lower one is characterized by a ramp. The area is characterized by many terraces and by some transversal walls that seem to form zones destined for specific activities.

Inside this area there are two cobhan (Fig.11) (Celtic etymology = rounded and closed place) shaped buildings.

This site is located next to the splendid seafaring village of Tellaro.
From inside Combara”s Grotto one can see the winter solstice”s sunset (azimuth 236°). (fig. 12)
Besides the solstitial phenomenon, in another grotto it”s possible to observe the Gorgona island (Az. 182°).
From outside the alignment between a gnomon and a particular rock points to Elba island (Az. 70°). (Fig. 13)

The Caprione”s sacred places are pointed toward many azimuths (Fig. 14), so as to find the solstice and equinox horizon phenomenons and providing further sacred warrants, because ”orientatio is a procedure used to discover megalithic places” (Eliade M., 1976); moreover ”Social and ritual space of central European Neolitich societies was carefully ordered and often incorporated astronomical alignments… [which] demonstrate that solar and lunar positions on the horizon were of great importance in defining the location and alignments of important structuring principles which introduce order in sacred and ritual space…” (Iwaniszewski S., 1997).

What could be the functional significance of having the five sites positioned in such a manner? A hypothesis was proposed during an international congress: ”…ancient societies could get knowledge and control of their territory by means of some kind of a former geodetic network, conceived as some basic reference frame for orientation of travellers….The zodiacal signs appear to be almost some kind of universal former alphabet…” (Gregori L. & G., 1995).

We appreciate this hypothesis of constellations used as prehistorical geographic networks, but we think that a sacral approach was towards constellations preceded it. The key to comprehending this must be sought in the female figure; in constellations configuration Cassiopeia is represented as a sitting woman, with a branch in hand, which is a female creativity symbol.

The Cassiopea”s layout of the sites could be understood in terms of a shamanic journey, with reference to a matriarchal society, the course could have been used to promote the spiritual growth of the community. In confirmation of this hypothesis you may read the records of San Marino”s Meeting : ”Starting from an ipnagogic condition (not very difficult to reach) it”s possible to carry out an O.B.E. (Out-of-Body-Experiences); beginning from a shamanic journey (the shamanism, found in many world regions, has been exercised for 2 000 or 3 000 years) it should be possible to find an Old Wise man and other archetypes in the unconscious located” (Ellison A. , 1998).
Was the Cassiopeia”s course made by a shamanic O.B.E. or …. ?
Fig. 14
Segment Canaa Granda – San Lorenzo
Az. 87° = Vergheto Site
Az. 267° = Madonna Mount – Tramonti Menhir
Segment San Lorenzo – Branzi – Combara
Az. 172° = Capanne Mount (Elba Island)
Az. 352° = Molinatico Mount (Northern Apennines)
Segment Canaa Granda – Branzi – Cattafossi
Az. 120° – Az. 300° = Winter solstice”s rise and Summer solstice”s sunset approximate direction
Segment Cattafossi – Combara
Az. 204° = Grosso Mount (Corsica Island)
Az. 24° = Losanna Mount (Northern Apennines)

The principal sites that form Cassiopeia”s image are:
1) Canaa Granda
Epsilon Cassiopeiae (Segin)

2) San Lorenzo
Delta Cassiopeiae (Ruchbah)

3) Branzi
(Oscan etym.= bram = the phallic stone)
Gamma Cassiopeiae (Tsih)

4) Cattafossi
(Italic etym. = catzum = the phallic stone)
Alpha Cassiopeiae (Schedar)

5) Combara
(Celtic etym.= coombe = a valley encloused, except one side, by mountains)
Beta Cassiopeiae (Caph)



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