TI·36 Davesco

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Proper name: Stela of Davesco
Classification: stela

Material: stone
Size: max. height 180 cm, breadth 56 cm, width 20 cm
Condition: complete
Autopsy by: Corinna Salomon
Date of autopsy: Sep 27 2021

Archaeological culture: Golasecca III A
Date: 5th–early 4th c. BC (?)
Date derived from: palaeography, typology

Site: Davesco (fraction of: Lugano, Ticino, Switzerland)
Coordinates (approx.): 46° 2' 9.60" N, 8° 58' 48.00" E [from site]
Find date: 1813
Find circumstances: by chance
Current location: Rätisches Museum (Chur)
Inventory no.: III.C186a


Alternative sigla: Whatmough 1933 (PID): 269
Solinas 1995: 3
Motta 2000: 6
Morandi 2004: 34

Sources: Piana Agostinetti 2004: 159–161



Images in Hormayr 1823 I.2: Taf. fig. 3 (drawing), Motta & Ricci 1908: tav. II (photo), Rhŷs 1913: pl. I (photo), Crivelli 1943: 32, fig. 49 (photo), Risch 1970: Taf. 4.3 (photo), Risch 1984: 33, Abb. 13 (photo = Risch 1992: 681, Ab. 3.1 = Morandi 2004: tav. VIII A [with copying error]) and 14 (photo = Morandi 2004: tav. VIII B), De Marinis & Motta 1991: 208, fig. 4 (drawing), Solinas 1995: tav. LX a and b (photos), Tibiletti Bruno 1997: fig. 5 (photo), Motta 2000: 201, fig. 4 (photo).

Rectangular stela of mica schist found on the property of the brothers Bianchi in Davesco in 1813 (Hormayr 1823 I.2: 143). The find date 1817 given by Monti 1860: 59 and repeated sometimes in the later literature is due to a misreading of the paragraph in Franscini 1837: 83. The vineyard appears first in Giussani 1902: 32; Motta & Ricci 1908: 26 f. claim that the stela was found in the vicinity the church, lying horizontally at a depth of 1 m, during the unearthing of a damaged walnut tree. Apart from these somewhat dubious informations, no details are known about the find circumstances beyond Hormayr's comment that many human bones were found in the vicinity (under the slab according to Motta & Ricci), which indicates a necropolis or at least a single grave. Piana Agostinetti 2004: 161 refers to Crivelli 1943: 25, who mentions sub Davesco "tre tombe di cui una con stele, probabilmente a cremazione. Inscrizione in alfabeto nord-etrusco su lapide", without precise reference; this seems to be a rough summary of finds which are not immediately associated, with the presence of the third grave merely inferred from that of the stela. According to Franscini 1837: 83, the stela was subsequently built into a wall along a street (cf. Motta & Ricci; Oberziner 1883: 169: the wall of the church); in the early 1880ies it was in the possession of one Dr. Vanelli (Pauli 1885: 7), but was bought by Peter Conradin von Planta (Simonett 1959: 1) and included in the collection of the Raetic Museum in 1874 (according to the museum's records). That the stela was immured until the 1980ies, before the belated finding of TI·36.3, causing damage to the back side, as claimed by Tibiletti Bruno 1997: 1007 and Motta 2000: 200, cannot be confirmed by the museum's records, and appears to be a misunderstanding of Risch's comments at the publication of TI·36.3. The stela's bottom end was set in concrete in the 1980ies.

The dating of the stela depends on that of TI·36.3, which is debated; see the inscription pages for palaeographical and typological datings of the inscriptions and their frames.

Corinna Salomon


Crivelli 1943 Aldo Crivelli, Atlante preistorico e storico della Svizzera Italiana. Vol. 1: Dalle origini alla civiltà romana, Bellinzona: Istituto Editoriale Ticinese 1943.
De Marinis & Motta 1991 Raffaele C. De Marinis, Filippo Motta, "Una nuova iscrizione lepontica su pietra da Mezzovico (Lugano)", Sibrium 21 (1990–1991), 201–225.
Franscini 1837 Stefano Franscini, La Svizzera Italiana. Volume primo, Lugano: G. Ruggia e Comp. 1837.
Giussani 1902 A[ntonio] Giussani, "L' iscrizione nord-etrusca di Tesserete e le altre iscrizioni pre-romane del nostro territorio", Rivista Archeologica della Provincia e Antica Diocesi di Como 46 (1902), 25–67.