VN-11 bone point

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Classification: bone
Archaeological type: bone point
Material: bone
Size: length: 7.3 cm + 3.9 cm, width: 1.3 cm, height: 4 mm
Condition: incomplete, damaged
Archaeological culture: La Tène C, La Tène D
Date: 3rd–1st centuries BC
Date derived from: archaeological context

Site: Schluderns / Sluderno (Bozen / Bolzano, Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy)
Field name: Ganglegg
Archaeological context: settlement
(Objects: VN-7 bone, VN-8 bone, VN-9 bone point, VN-10 bone, VN-11 bone point, VN-12 bone point, VN-13 bone, VN-16 bone point, VN-17 bone, VN-18 bone point, VN-19 bone)
Coordinates (approx.): 46° 40' 18.23" N, 10° 35' 18.96" E
Find date: 1997
Find circumstances: excavation (Gamper and Steiner)
Current location: Vintschger Museum / Museo della Val Venosta (on exhibition)
Inventory Nr.: G 97.207

Inscription: VN-11 (lumene·χa·χiθiiii)

Sources: Steiner & Gamper 1999: 154–155, fig. 9.10
Schumacher 2004: 323, fig. 13.3
Gamper 2006: 144–146, fig. 77.20



Bone point.
Animal bone, not further classified. Small bone rod divided into an elongated section with a flat, long-oval and edged cross section and a lanceolate part; perforated. Broken among the perforation. A piece between the lanceolate and the elongated section is obviously missing. From whitish to light brown in colour; smoothed. On the back side partly the spongiosa structure visible.
The above-mentioned dimensions result of the autopsy by the Thesaurus Inscriptionum Raeticarum.
Along the elongated section an inscription from right to left where the sequence lumene can be segmented. According to Schumacher lumene presents an individual name (cp. Schumacher 1998: 101), so far attested two times on the Ganglegg hill.
The bone point was found in 1997 during the official excavation directed by Peter Gamper and Hubert Steiner. Probably the bone point was part of the findings made in room 3 at the eastern hillside where the exacavation was executed in 1997. Further detailed find circumstances are not clearly given. Cp. Steiner & Gamper 1999: 135.
Like all the findings on the Ganglegg hill the bone point dates to the period from the 3rd to the 1st centuries BC (cp. Gamper & Steiner 1999: 50–51).
According to Gamper the dissemination of bone points includes the areas along the Adige Valley (Etschtal / Val d'Adige) to the Valpolicella region (cp. map 29 in Gamper 2006: 143). Inscribed bone points appear in the settlements among others of Sanzeno and Montesei di Serso. These settlements date to middle and late La Tène period. However there are other bone points e.g. from Monte Ozol which date already to the late Hallstatt period. But these objects are neither inscribed nor decorated and the dimension of these is larger than of those which date to later periods. The function of these bone points are uncertain. It can be suggested that they were used in handcraft sector or that they were part of the attire. Related to this insecurity Gamper indicates these objects on one side as bone points (Knochenspitze), otherwise he uses also the term needle (Nadel) (cp. Gamper 2006: 145). The secondary function of these bone points is the use and deposition of these for the ritual abandonment of houses. According to Gamper this ritual context can be verified so far only on the Ganglegg hill and the here located settlement. Related to several houses resp. rooms the ritual use of the bone points is proved on the Ganglegg hill (cp. Gamper 2006: fig. 45). Gamper suggests that a partly ritual function of the bone points can be supposed for the late La Tène period in the entire region of the Fritzens-Sanzeno culture (cp. Gamper 2006: 145). Gamper's suggestion concerning the secondary function of the bone points is correct, however his indication that the deposition of bone points on occasion of the ritual abandonment of houses is so far only attested on the Ganglegg hill is incorrect. Already during the excavations in Trissino examples for bone points used in this ritual context came to light (cp. Colle di Castello; Lora & Ruta Serafini 1992: 262). Not only concerning the ritual abandonment of houses the deposition of bones or bone points is attested, also in occasion of the ritual house foundation they were dedicated (cp. San Giorgio di Valpolicella, Casaletti; Sanzeno, Paternoster).
On the Ganglegg hill were discovered several inscribed bone points (cp. in the Thesaurus Inscriptionum Raeticarum: VN-9 bone point, VN-12 bone point, VN-16 bone point and VN-18 bone point) as well as a large number of bone points with incised signs of which the interpretation is uncertain. Probably they present decorations, numbers or the like (cp. the main chapter about the Non-script notational systems in the Thesaurus Inscriptionum Raeticarum). Further examples of inscribed bone points derive from other find places (cp. in the Thesaurus Inscriptionum Raeticarum: NO-17 bone point and VR-17 bone point). Marchesini indicates SZ-48 bone as fragment of a further bone point (cp. Marchesini 2014: 138).
According to Marchesini the bone point is kept in the repository of the Amt für Bodendenkmäler Bozen / Ufficio Beni archeologici Bolzano in Frangart / Frangarto (cp. Marchesini 2014: 138). However, due to the study and autopsy of the object by the Thesaurus Inscriptionum Raeticarum, it becomes apparent that the bone point is preserved in the Vintschger Museum / Museo della Val Venosta. In the recently released study about the Raetic inscriptions by Marchesini the object is listed with "MLR 253", an autopsy was not effected (cp. MLR: 220 [MLR 253]). Here the repository of the bone point is indicated with the Vintschger Museum / Museo della Val Venosta, without inventory number.
Further references: Gamper & Steiner 1999: fig. 24.4 (drawing), fig. 25 (photo).
Autopsied by the Thesaurus Inscriptionum Raeticarum in September 2014.



Gamper 2006 Peter Gamper, Die latènezeitliche Besiedlung am Ganglegg in Südtirol. Neue Forschungen zur Fritzens-Sanzeno-Kultur [= Internationale Archäologie 91], Rahden/Westfalen: Leidorf 2006.
Gamper & Steiner 1999 Peter Gamper, Hubert Steiner, Das Ganglegg bei Schluderns. Eine befestigte bronze- und eisenzeitliche Siedlung im oberen Vinschgau, Bozen: Athesia 1999.
Lora & Ruta Serafini 1992 Silvana Lora, Angela Ruta Serafini, "Il gruppo Magrè", in: Ingrid R. Metzger, Paul Gleirscher, Die Räter / I Reti [= Schriftenreihe der Arbeitsgemeinschaft Alpenländer, Neue Folge 4], Bozen: Athesia 1992, 247–272.
Marchesini 2014 Simona Marchesini, "Nuove iscrizioni retiche da Cles e Sanzeno (Trento)", in: Rosa Roncador, Franco Nicolis, Antichi popoli delle Alpi. Sviluppi culturali durante l'età del Ferro nei territori alpini centro-orientali (Atti della giornata internazionale di studi 1 maggio 2010 Sanzeno, Trento), Trento: Provincia autonoma di Trento. Soprintendenza per i beni architettonici e archeologici 2014, 127–144.