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15 May 2012
The Dolmen at Monticello

The village of Monticello - near Finale Ligure, in the west of Italy, is located along the western slopes of Gottaro. The dolmen is located in Valeggia, 199 metres above sea level along the northern slopes of Bric delle Pernici.
     The dolmen is made of limestone, about 250 centimetres high, with a horizontal cap stone supported on one side by a single stone, and on the other side by two large stones and a sort of dry wall. The chamber has a maximum height of 1 metre. The cap stone has a transverse V-shaped crack, and the top is eroded, but some erosion could be interpreted as a petroglyph and even as cup marks. A larger depression is similar to those found on the Stone-Altar above Arma┬áStrapatente, and might have had the function of collecting liquid, and therefore a ritual significance. The floor of the chamber has not been probed, since the complex has been considered the result of a landslide, but the arrangement is not typical of a landslide.
     Dolmens and menhirs are not strangers to the Finalese and Subalpine cultural zones, as thought until a few decades ago, when it was believed that the megalithic culture had been arrested without crossing the Alps. The only exception was Puglia, in southern Italy. There the dolmens and other megaliths were attributed to the influx of populations from the Balkan Peninsula, across the Adriatic.
     In the late 1980s, two circular burial mounds were identified near Sanremo, Imperia province, one of which was attributed to the final phase of the Bronze Age. Accordingly, other Ligurian artefacts - especially in the Finalese (the menhir and dolmen of Verezzi, for example) - acquired new importance, and the lack of megalithic remains in Italy could be explained by the change of civilisation over time, resulting in the loss of many sites.
     The creation of megalithic structures, such as menhirs and dolmens, is placed in a period between the end of the fifth millennium at the end of the third millennium BCE, roughly between the Neolithic and the Bronze Ages, and corresponding with that of other megaliths already described by experts and by the author, in the vicinity of Monticello - such as the rudimentary anthropomorphic Stele of 'Pila delle Penne', Plateau of St Bernardino (including the so-called Observatory of Bric Pianarella) - but also other megaliths of Finalese.

Edited from Tracce (3 April 2012)

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