ST rock

From Thesaurus Inscriptionum Raeticarum
Revision as of 22:37, 24 May 2020 by Corinna Salomon (talk | contribs)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to navigationJump to search
Classification: rock
Material: stone
Size: height 4 m, width 3 m400 cm <br />
Condition: damaged

Site: Brandenberg (Tirol, Austria)
Field name: Schneidjoch
Coordinates (approx.): 47° 34' 12.34" N, 11° 47' 39.16" E
Find date: 1957
Find circumstances: by chance
Current location: in situ

  • ST-1 (kastriesieθunnuale)
  • ST-2 (pitauṇesikaszrinụalet[)
  • ST-3 (esimnesikaszrinuaḷ[?)
  • ST-4 (ạzile$aθiṿ·nuale)
  • ST-5 (hes·ṭulanu·aleker·akve)
  • ST-6 (sạ?al·̣esta·nu·aleφakaḷẹ)
  • ST-7 (?)
  • ST-8 (arisae·ki)
  • ST-9 ()


First published by Vetter 1957.

Images in in Sydow 1989: 68, Abb. 3, and 70, Abb. 5 (photos of the crevice), 68, Abb. 2, and 69, Abb. 4 (drawings of the crevice's outlines) and 71, Abb. 6 (photo of the inscribed wall), Gleirscher 1991: Abb. 3 (photo of the inscribed wall), Kusch 2000: 203, Abb. 1 (photo of the crevice entrance), Abb. 2 (photo of the rock step), 205, Abb. 4 (drawing of the crevice's outlines and profile), and Mandl 2011: 124, Abb. 133 (photo of the inscribed wall).

The rock wall with inscriptions is situated in a crevice in the Rofan mountains, at the foot of a 20 m rock step which forms the western end of a long cliff on the north flank of the Schneidjoch (Kusch 2000: 199). The site lies only a few kilometres east of the Achenkirch petrograph site, in the municipal area of Brandenberg. The name of Steinberg, however, is so closely associated with the inscriptions that TIR has chosen to keep the sigla code "ST". The triangular crevice measures ca. 4 m in height, 2.5 m in width at the entrance, and 3 m in depth, tapering to a cleft at the top (geological details in Kusch 2000: 200). The inscriptions are applied on the convex western wall (right-hand side when standing in front of the crevice), mostly on the reasonably straight middle part; only ST-5 and ST-6 go up into the more sloped and less well accessible upper part beyond a bend.

The crevice was found by chance by local hikers on 8th June 1957 when they chose an unusual route for descending from the Schneidjoch through a rocky and wooded area. The find was published with photographs in the Tiroler Tageszeitung on 8th June (no. 148, p. 3). News of it reached Emil Vetter in Vienna, who saw cave and inscriptions on 18th August (Vetter 1957). A first test excavation, conducted on 29th September by Oswald Menghin, did not bring any finds to light, but caused water to flow from the back of the cave, which was judged to be a source of drinking water by the forest warden. This development, stressed by Vetter (p. 395 f.), led to the crevice being interpreted as a sanctuary by a spring. The layout of the then-known inscriptions 1–6, which appear to frame a rectangular area in der centre of the wall, led Vetter (p. 387) to suggest that a bronze plaque of the kind known from the Venetic sanctuary of Làgole di Cadore had been attached in that place, so that dedicants had to arrange their inscriptions around it. Soon, however, Mayr 1962 discovered another inscription, applied in the exact place where Vetter had suspected his plaque. Prosdocimi 1971: 46 attempted to salvage Vetter's theory by suggesting that the new inscription meant 'here the sacred image' (see ST-8).

In 1985, the community Steinberg, in whose municipal area the site was thought to lie, secured the crevice with a fence, as the inscriptions had sustained increased damage after the find's very public announcement. The occasion was used for a second excavation, which covered the ground inside the crevice and an area of 5x3 m in front of it, as well as another one under a shelter 7 m to the west of the crevice. Its results, or rather lack of results, were published by Sydow 1989. No trace of ceramic or metal objects was found; Sydow argues that the lack of votive gifts and the unremarkable quality of the water (which is merely seepage water; cf. Mutschlechner 1983) make a sanctuary by a spring very unlikely. He also observes that the areas where no inscriptions are applied, including the space between ST-1, ST-4 and ST-5, are less smooth and simply not suitable for being inscribed. A projecting part of the inscribed western wall was knocked off by a slab which broke off above it. It is not clear whether this piece of wall or fragments of it are still intact as slabs on the ground in front of the crevice; the 1985 excavation dug under the largest one to check for inscriptions and found none (Sydow 1989: 69), but Kusch 2000: 200 stresses the importance of an examination of all the slabs.

More rock walls with graffiti were found in 1994 in a spot on the slope ca. 130 m below the crevice (Kusch 2000: 201). The graffiti are in bad condition; the better preserved ones include various geometric symbols, but no inscriptions (photos in Kusch 2000: 207 f., Abb. 7–9).


Gleirscher 1991 Paul Gleirscher, Die Räter, Chur: Rätisches Museum 1991.
Kusch 2000 Heinrich Kusch, "Zur Halbhöhle (Kat.Nr. 1262/6, iBA-704) und einem neuen Felsbildfundplatz am Schneidjoch, Steinberg in Tirol, Austria", in: Manfred Hainzmann (ed.), VOTIS XX SOLVTIS. Jubiläumsschrift der Archäologischen Gesellschaft Steiermark, Graz: Academic Publishers 2000. (= AGST Nachrichtenblatt 1–2 [1999]), 199–208.
Mandl 2011 Franz Mandl, Felsbilder. Österreich – Bayern: Nördliche Kalkalpen [= Anisa – Verein für alpine Forschung 4], Haus im Ennstal: 2011.