MERCANTOUR (Roya Bévéra)
Valley of Wonders
At the foot of Mont Bégo, the thirty thousand bronze age rock carvings in the Vallée des Merveilles, a protected historical monument, are a unique record of the origins of mankind.
For conservation purposes, access to the area is regulated. Theories about these rock carvings began as early as the Middle Ages: were they devils, hieroglyphics…?
The mystery was finally resolved at the end of the XIXth century when the Englishman C. Bicknell finally dated the site. Research continues today and an archaeological museum has been opened in Tende. The most frequent rock carvings represent horned animals. According to H. de Lumley, they represent bulls, the Mediterranean symbol of virility that fertilises mother earth. They were also said to canalise cosmic forces. Recently, other researchers have identified in these rock carvings the primitive couple of Indo-European rituals, as well as astronomy symbols.