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Transliteration: lavisielavisealu
Original script: U2 sL2 sA7 sE sS sI sV3 sA7 sL2 sE sI sS sI sV3 sA7 sL2 s

Object: VN-1 antler (antler)
Script: North Italic script (Sanzeno alphabet)
Direction of writing: sinistroverse
Letter height: 1.2 cm – 2.6 cm
Number of letters: 16
Number of lines: 1
Craftsmanship: engraved
Current condition: complete, damaged
Date of inscription:
Date derived from:

Language: Raetic
Meaning: unknown

Alternative sigla: IR 103
MLR 263
TM 218519
Sources: Schumacher 2004: 177



First published in Mayr 1953.

Images in Mayr 1953: 365 (drawings and photo = Mayr 1956b), Lunz 1981: Taf 85 (photo), IR (drawing = LIR), MLR (photo and drawing).

Inscribed on a handle or grip made of antler, running all the way from the thinner to the broader end (about 4.5 cm). The letters become increasingly smaller towards the left, because the writer avoided the small screw hole by swerving upwards. Although the object is somewhat damaged by erosion on the thinner end, there is no reason to believe that a substantial part of object or inscription is missing. The fact that the upper tip of the first A7 s is in evidence suggests that the object had much the same shape as today, with the height of the letters being accomodated to it. The surface is much corroded; while some of the lines are well visible, others are all but gone. They appear to have been tidily scratched, only sporadically are scratches repeated.

The first part of the inscription L2 sE sI sS sI sV3 sA7 sL2 s is comparatively well readable and unambiguous. S s has a distinct angle in the upper bend, but is more smoothly curved in the lower half. Starting from S s, the letters become more crowded. The second L2 s is followed by a problematic group (see drawing), probably a writing mistake: A7 s seems to be rendered more slender than drawn at first by a vertical scratch cutting through the left hasta; the remains of said hasta appear to be covered by the lower bar of V3 s. Another possibility is that the writer erroneously carved two straight hastae, then tried to arrange an A7 s between them. A similar, though shorter scratch disturbs the first E s without, however, impeding its legibility. The reading V3 sA7 s is based on the observation that the second part of the inscription repeats the first sequence. U2 sL2 sA7 sE sS sI s is clear despite the crowding of the letters in the upper left corner. S s is the same shape as before.

Although the presence of the Raetic individual name Lavise can be determined, the precise import of the inscription is unclear. Lavise appearing first with i before final e is not necessarily problematic, as we have evidence of a variation -e ~ -ie in the typically vocalic endings of Raetic individual names (though nowhere else documented in the same name). More conspicuous is the sequence alu, which may be either a separate word or a morpheme suffixed to lavise. An alternative reading anu would allow us to interpret the entire inscription as a bipartite Raetic name formula with a patronymic in -nu and some unusual treatment of the auslaut of the individual name (-e vs. -ie; insertion of a before the suffix – the omission of i might be due to syncope in the vowel cluster). While inverted N2 s is arguably known from inscriptions in the Bozen area (BZ-1, BZ-2), no trace of an additional bar to the left of L2 s can be made out.

The group of scratches in the lower corner on the broad end, read tinaχ by Mayr 1956b: 245 f., is too untidy to be arranged into letters, apart from Θ s to the very right, then a vertical scratch I s, and possibly V2 s – the rest is a profusion of intersecting scratches. Probably non-script, though the function is unclear. Cp. the non-inscriptions VN-5.1 and VN-6 on bones from the Ganglegg, which also contain the sequence V sI sΘ s.

The inscription on the copy (see VN-1 antler), being a cast of the original, is basically correct, but less well visible and therefore misleading, as some of the slighter scratches cannot be seen.


IR Alberto Mancini, "Iscrizioni retiche", Studi Etruschi 43 (1975), 249–306.
LIR Alberto Mancini, Le Iscrizioni Retiche [= Quaderni del dipartimento di linguistica, Università degli studi di Firenze Studi 8–9], Padova: Unipress 2009–10. (2 volumes)
Lunz 1981 Reimo Lunz, Archäologie Südtirols. Von den Jägern des Mesolithikums (um 7000 v. Chr.) bis zum Ende des Weströmischen Reiches (476 n. Chr.) [= Archäologische Forschungen in Tirol 7], Calliano (Trento): 1981.
Mayr 1953 Karl M. Mayr, "Rätische Votivinschrift vom Tartscherbühel bei Mals", Der Schlern 27 (1953), 365–367.
Mayr 1956b Karl M. Mayr, "Hirschhornvotive aus den rätischen Bergen", Der Schlern 30 (1956), 245–246.