The “Campanari”: Big Artificially Pierced and Astronomically Oriented Rocks in the South Territory of Monte Iato (Sicily)

  • Ferdinando Maurici
  • Vito F. PolcaroEmail author
  • Alberto Scuderi
Conference paper
Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Proceedings book series (ASSSP, volume 48)


In Western Sicily, in the province of Palermo, within the municipal borders of the towns of San Cipirello and Monreale, there are two large rocks with artificial holes, bot locally named “Campanaru” (i.e. “Bell Tower”) at less than 8 km away from each other. One of these rocks is still existing and visible from far away. A lightning destroyed the second one in 1968 or a few years later. Both holes are undoubtedly artificial and astronomically oriented with extreme accuracy. The rock still existing on Monte Arcivocalotto has its hole aligned with the sunrise of the winter solstice, while the collapsed one, documented by a photo, by oral testimonies and existing remains, is sited on the Cozzo Perciata hill and had its hole axis exactly oriented at the sunrise of the summer solstice. For the latter perforated rock still exists the tradition that put in relation the sunrise into the hole at the summer solstice with the start of harvesting works which traditionally begin on a date close to the end of June. An Eneolithic/Early Bronze Age settlement is archaeologically well attested at the Monte Arcivocalotto site. Both from Cozzo Perciata and from Monte Arcivocalotto, Pizzo Pietralunga is clearly visible. This is an outstanding, insulated geological structure, on whose base is an Eneolithic/Early Bronze Age settlement, whose materials would indicate a cultic character attendance and/or an exchange site of the local populations. Also in close proximity of the Cozzo Perciata perforated rock are abundant fragments of pottery dating back to the Eneolithic and the Early Bronze Age, while a pseudo-tholos tomb with dromos was found at a few hundred meters. The fact that in this area there are two coeval and similar monuments (artificially perforated rocks) with different and complementary (winter and summer) solstice alignments seems to indicate that here, between the Eneolithic and the Early Bronze Age, a civilization has developed that had a solar calendar and developed a simple but very effective technology to materialize it. Other megalithic monuments, dating to the same period and showing astonishing hierophanies at the solstices sunrise, as the so-called “King’s Pulpit” in the nearby park of the “Ficuzza Forest” and others, were found in the same geographic area.


Summer Solstice Winter Solstice Ceramic Fragment Pottery Fragment Bell Tower 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ferdinando Maurici
    • 1
  • Vito F. Polcaro
    • 2
    Email author
  • Alberto Scuderi
    • 3
  1. 1.Regional Cultural Heritage Superintendence of SicilySicilyItaly
  2. 2.INAF/IAPS, Rome and ACHeFerrara UniversityFerraraItaly
  3. 3.National Vice-Director, Archaeological Groups of ItalyRomeItaly

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