San Germano Chisone – Peira Eicrita

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Hi!
Today I’d like to bring you with me for a journey into history, but we have to go far, far away in time. Are you ready?

The destination of our walk are the woods above San Germano Chisone, in Chisone valley, where we’ll search the Peira Eicrita, which in Occitan means “Written Stone”. This stone, 130×75 centimers wide, is a monolith, that is a huge stone block made by a piece only. But, apart from this, what is its peculiarity? Of course, the fact that it’s covered by primeval engravings, that the researchers situate in a time frame near 3000 B.C., at the end of Bronze Age.

It seems that on that rock there are some glyphs
It seems that on that rock there are some glyphs

This stone has been discovered in the 1920s by professor Silvio Pons, one of the first scholars of rock art archaelogy, the study of petroglyphs.
On the Peira Eicrita you can find many glyphs: in the middle there’s a rectangle surrounded by solar symbols composed by a circle and a central dot, meanwhile on a side there’s a stick man with outstretched arms towards the sky. Near the rectangle there’s also a swastika, and the characteristic element is that the crosswise structure is perfectly aligned to the cardinal points.

The circles with a dot in the middle are solar symbols
The circles with a dot in the middle are solar symbols

During an experiment, the researchers discovered that during the winter solstice, at the sunrise, a ray of light appears from behind the ridge of the mountains and lights up the stone. If you take a rope and stretch it vertically, the shadow casted by the sunbeam reaches precisely one of the solar symbols with the central dot. This permitted to understand that the stone was a prehistoric astronomical observatory!
This monolith is important because permits us to study the development of the scientific thinking in prehistoric societies. That’s interesting, isn’t it?

The cross of the swastika is aligned to the cardinal points
The cross of the swastika is aligned to the cardinal points

How to get here
From Pinerolo take Strada Statale 23 to Sestriere. Before Villar Perosa turn left on Strada Provinciale 166 towards San Germano Chisone.
From the Primary School of San Germano Chisone, take a road on the right following the directions to Sibourna. Overstep Verdura and Sibourna hamlets, continue to Campasso and then go on the mule track for more or less 400 meters. During the ascension, you’ll find the stone on your right, in the middle of an tight bend in the direction of the woods.