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Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology






Rock art meets digital technology


• P • I • T • O • T • I • is a multimedia digital rock art exhibition which originated from years of research by Dr Christopher Chippindale and Dr Frederick Baker of the Cambridge Univeristy Prehistoric Picture Project. It explores the links between the world of Archaeology and the world of film, digital humanities and computer vision.

The word ‘Pitoti’ comes from the Lombard dialect and means ‘little puppets’, a local name for the carvings created by the residents of the valley thousands of years ago, predominantly in the Iron Age. Dr. Chippindale says, “The special thing about ancient rock-art, especially Val Camonica rock-art with its strong, analytical and vivid graphics, is that it is autobiographical. This is the world of ancient people, as they themselves experienced it, as they themselves chose to depict it”. This exhibition takes these carvings as a starting point and has filmed, photographed, animated, and re-presented them in the 21st century with new digital graphic technologies.

“What the figures cannot do and do not do is move: there were no film cameras or animation studios in prehistoric times. But with our film, cameras and animation studios, today we can take the metaphor literally. If these figures are like stills from a cartoon, we can animate them and create a cartoon. If they are moments frozen from a narrative, we can tell a full story with them”, explains Dr. Baker. This playful injection of digital technology allows you to navigate the 70km Val Camonica valley, projected onto a whole wall, with a video game joystick, or interact with a digital rock face through a touchscreen, moving the figures around in mini multiplayer games.

This exhibition is EU funded and is a joint venture between archaeologists from Cambridge University (UK), the local research institute which has been studying the Valcamonica figures for 50 years, the Centro Camuno di Studi Preistorici (I), and digital graphics specialists from the University of Applied Sciences in St Pölten, (A). The show also includes a constribution from the Bauhaus Universität in Weimar (D).

Two million years of human history. One million artefacts. Countless astonishing stories.