Chronology and iconography

Classification

The 80 stele statues so far discovered in Lunigiana have been classified in three groups , A , B and C , by A.C. Ambrosi .
Group A comprises the stele statues with a semicircular shaped head that is separated from the body only by a very shallow groove above the shoulders and a narrow horizontal band representing the collar bone. The figures have recognizable arms and the fingers are represented by series of parallel grooves . The U-shaped face has eyes – two small holes or button-like shapes – and , in some cases ,at  the sides of the head there are two little cups or hollow circles that have been interpreted as representing ears or earrings .  In this group there are female figures ( that have brests ) , male figures ( with a dagger showing below the hands ) and indefinite figures ( so called because of the absence of characteristic attributes ) .
Group B is the largest . There is an obvious evolution compared to the former group , with a better definition of anatomic details and a clear distinction between the head and body .  The head , shaped like a semicircular arc , is more or less elongated on the sides , appearing not unlike a carabiniere’s hat , and is connected to the body by a rounded neck .     The face is sometimes U-shaped , as in the former group , or surrounded by a rounded  circular ribbon , with a vertical segment reaching towards the centre representing the nose . In only one case ( the stele statue of Verrucola ) the face has a T- shape . The eyes are always  two holes or  a button-shape in relief . In these stele statues also the collar bones and the arms are very recognizable , but the fingers are represented more naturalistically than in the former group .
The female stele statues have breasts and in some instances an ornament that can be a necklace round the throat , shown as a series of parallel incisions on the neck , or a necklace shown as three engraved semicircles ,  
The male stele statues have a dagger and sometimes an axe . In a few cases the dagger appears to be in a rectangular scabbard .
Some of the stele statues belonging to this group are little more than fragments : often isolated heads that cannot be ascribed to a male or female personage .

Group C  the more recent stele statues belong to this group . They show more realistic representation of the human body and an almost “tutto tondo” workmanship , evidence of an attempt at tridimensionality.
The examples discovered so far represent only male personages , with a round shaped head connected to the body by a rather wide neck .  The face is quite rich in detail ; in one case ( Filetto II ) legs and feet are represented .
The Lerici stele is typologically different  : it was obtained from an older monument and the male personage is represented sideways on  the surface of the stone . Three other statues – Zignago , Campoli e Filetto I – are actually altered examples belonging to one of the former groups .
In most cases these stele statues have in common a heel-shaped axe with a square blade and a long handle  ; in some cases there are also two javelins or a lance , and in others there is also a dagger or a sword placed on the thigh and hanging from the belt . The belt is always represented , and at times a triangular hip-cloth .  The Lerici statue has a round shield and a skullcap-like helmet ,  as – it would seem – the Reusa stele statue .
Three of these stele statues ( Zignago , Filetto II , Bigliolo ) have inscriptions in Etruscan writing .
The stele statues of Canossa II , Filetto IX , Malgrate V , La Spezia I , La Spezia II  are difficult to classify and therefore considered “uncertain” .

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