Montovolo retreat 6
Found an Unequivocal Data Confirming Montovolo was the Sacred Mountain of the Northern Etruscan Dodecapolis
By Graziano Baccolini
Now, I report a further and unequivocal find that confirms Montovolo has been the Sacred Mountain, or Navel (Omphalos), for the zone of the Etruria where Marzabotto was situated.1 I have found on the top of a valuable big marble oval stone, exposed to the Museo Aria of Marzabotto, some clear glyphs that connects this oval stone to Montovolo.
On the conic top of this stone there is portrayed a cross inscribed in a circle, which in ancient iconography is the symbol of the Navels. Around this cross there are portrayed the figures of two lilies with others two figures that seem two spherical-oval stones. The cross inscribed in a circle and the two lilies are the same symbols portrayed in the lunotto of Montovolo (see above the title) and therefore this fact can mean that the oval stone of Marzabotto wanted to represent the Navel of Montovolo which have the lily as "arboreal code".
As far as it concerns the two pointed spherical figures, it seems to me they reproduce two stones similar to that where these glyphs are. You must remember that these glyphs, known from over a century, have been never explained by the several researchers who have studied the Etruscan city of Marzabotto.
My drawing reproducing the gliphs engraved on the point of a sharpened oval stone exposed in the Museo Aria of Marzabotto and dated V sec AC. You note to the center, exactly on the point, the cross inscribed in a circle, symbol of the navels with two stylised lilies, arboreal code of Montovolo.
The same oval stone exposed in the Museo P. Aria di Marzabotto and dated V sec A.C.
Now, we can ask each other why these oval stones are not found in other Etruscan Necropolis of Etruria so numerous as in the two Necropolis of Marzabotto, and why this hypothesis of the stone Omphalos connected to the near mountain of Montovolo, that now, for me, it is a certainty, has not been never taking in consideration from the "employers" to these studies?
We can explain the second question remembering that I arrived to this conclusion making a very ample run, exposed in my preceding reports, departing from the verification that Montovolo may be an Oracular Center. Since every ancient oracular center had certain glyphs like two doves, an oval stone, a snake, a plant as code and sometimes a cross inscribed in a circle and since all these symbols were found in Montovolo, the rest comes as a consequence: It was necessary only to look for other connections that made more valid my hypothesis .
Obviously when an "employer" to this studies sees some oval stones in an Etruscan Necropolis and he doesn't find a motive because it should be oval, he defines them simply as cippi, segnacoli ( signals for the tombs) or even more simply as pebbles.
But if this has been the definition of such oval stones perhaps it is explainable because now the same oval stones are not been found, in so numerous manner, on other Etruria’s Necropolis. Probably in other sites, all the oval stones more communes have gone lost perhaps because considered simple pebbles. Probably they will be in some garden to form flowerbed, or used for building some wall, and only the most beautiful and unusual are found in some museum or basement of museum. In fact only some big Oval Stones, like the two of the museum of Marzabotto, are visible in the museums of Bologna, Pisa, Settimello (Firenze), Populonia, Volterra and Orvieto.
I have written about this to some scholars of Etruscology but nobody has responded to me!
Some my acquantances said that they had seen such oval stones above the graves in other Necropolises of the Etruria but many years ago. But now in any photo of other Necropolises reproduced on the recent texts there is trace of such oval stones above to the tombs. Perhaps they are lost ! I have looked for them in old photos and finally I have found again the oval stones above every tomb!! I have found two old photos, of the beginning of 1900, reproducing the necropolis of Orvieto (Crocefisso del Tufo). One is visible in a web page of the German University of Erlangen (Antikensammlung ERlangen Internet Archive); the other, very similar, is reported in the book2 of E. Pais, 1925. As you can see on the photo, every cubic tomb has its oval stone on it. This necropolis seems an old cemetery of our country where every family Tomb has above a Cross . Remember that Etruscans created the first great civilization in pre-Roman Italy whose great influence on the Roman, as well as our western culture, is increasingly recognized. Now we have found that also the use to put above the tombs their religious symbol is an usance which we have also today.. As today we have a Cross on all our tombs, Etruscans had an Oval Stone!
An old photo ( ~ 1920) of the Necropolis of Orvieto -Crocefisso del Tufo.
(Reproduced by kind permission of University of Erlangen)
Post Scriptum,March 2003
Now , re-reading Etruscan Places, the well known travel book of the 1932 of David Herbert Lawrence, I have found a further confirmations that the Oval stones, defined "phallic stones", were still very numerous in the April of 1927 when he wrote this diary, visiting different Etruscan necropolises like Caere, Tarquinia, Veio,Volterra etc. In fact he annotates, that these phallic stones are close to the entries of many tombs, anywhere around of varied measures, great or small or enormous, above the tumults or hammered in the rock . Lawrence is also surprised why it has not been written a word about these particular stones and he repeats that the scientists call them simply "cippi". Also he believes that these stone should have an important symbolic value. In the book it also reported an incisions of 1848 of George Dennis where is represent the Tomb of Tarquins,a Cerveteri, where you can see some great oval stones above a rest of column. Also Dennis report in his book, that in the Necropolis of Orvieto "these cippi of stone were very numerous", "shaped in general like a pine –cone or a cupola" above the tombs or in front of the entrance. In a beautiful incision, (see below) taken from a photo, Dennis gives a general view of this "city of the dead" where two enormous Oval stones are visible.
Etruscan Tombs escavation , Necropoli del Crocefisso (G. Dennis , The Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria, vol. II , 40,1878)
Now, where are these Oval Stones? I think that many of these oval stones have gone lost and some disseminate in the several museums, where I have found again and same times without catalogation, called simply cippi, pebbles, segnacolo like pine-cone or phallic or other but never called Oval stone or Omphalos pointing out in such way that they are a known and unequivocal Religious Symbol also for other ancient civilizations in different continent and connected to the myth of the Great Goddess Mother. This demonstates a clear archaic oriental origin for the Etruscan civilization.
a) See also the web pages of Bill Tayer reporting several Chapter and figures of , G. Dennis :The Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria, vol.1, 1848.
Prof. Graziano Baccolini
Dipartimento di Chimica Organica, Università di Bologna
FAX: 051-209-3654 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © -2002. All rights reserved.
1) For a fully understanding of the affirmations done in this report it is necessary to read my complete researches:
Montovolo retreat 1 1999 (Montovolo: perhaps an Ancient Oracular Centre) (Italian version,)
Montovolo retreat 2 1999(Remains of an Etruscan Oracular Centre In the Montovolo’s Legends and
Traditions ) (Italian version)
Montovolo retreat 3 2000 (Montovolo’s Black Madonna and its Presumed Ancient Temple of Isis)(Italian version)
Montovolo retreat 4 2000(Delphi's "Castalian"Spring and Montovolo's "Cantalian" Spring:
Another Strange Coincidence or Another Ancient Correlation ?) (Italian Version)
Montovolo retreat 5 2001(The Two Etruscan Necropolis of Marzabotto and their Sacred Ties with Montovolo) (Italian Version)
Montovolo retreat 7 2002 (The Crypt of Montovolo is Actually an Intact Etruscan Temple! (Italian version)
See also a summary of our researches about Montovolo as Sacred Etruscan Mount or the index of Montovolo Retreats
My preferred web site about Etruscan Civilisation:
Index ofMontovolo Retreats