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The Predescia Boulder

An erratic boulder with pertoglyphs

Svizzera, Cantone Ticino, LUGANO

Positioning

Ova Partùs

COORDINATES
(CH 1903) E   721764 N   96969 H   520.0
(WGS 84) Long.   9.011 Lat.   46.013
GENERAL EVALUATION
DIFFICULTY E-T2/T3
SCIENTIFIC INTEREST PRIMARY:
Glacial morphology

SECONDARY:
OTHER INTERESTS Ethnographical, Didactic, Archaeological
Landscape
GEOSITE   GEOMORPHOLOGICAL - glaciers

DESCRIPTION

The Predescia Boulder is one of the main attractions of the natural, archaeological trail of Gandria. It is a block of gneiss measuring 6 by 4.40 by 5 metres with a very rounded contour. During the Quaternary Period, the block was transported by a glacier which smoothed its edges and placed it 520 metres above sea level on the steep hillside above Gandria. On its surface there are also hundreds of cups and other sculpted forms. According to some scholars, the Predescia Boulder, due to the number and variety of its engravings, is one of the most important signs of rupestral archeology – carvings in rock – in the whole of Italian-speaking Switzerland.

INSIGHT

Standing entirely on a base of Moltrasio Limestone, this imposing block of gneiss corresponds fully to the definition of an erratic boulder, that is, one which has been carried from one location to another by glacial ice. The position of the Predescia Boulder testifies to the presence of a glacier which transported and deposited it in its present position. In fact, during the Quaternary Period a branch of the Adda Glacier penetrated several times into the region of Gandria, Lugano, and Melide and even pushed as far as Mendrisio. It is assumed that the block was moved during the last important glacial event, namely the Cantu Glaciation, which took place 22,000 years ago.

CURIOSITIES

On the surface of the stone there are hundreds of carved cups, measuring from 1 to 12 centimetres in diameter, as well as single and double crosses and foot shapes.
scala temporale periodi geologici

HOW TO REACH THE SITE

After “Ristorante Gandria”, on the right side of the road, there is a large paid parking area about ten minutes’ drive from Lugano.

USEFUL INFORMATION FOR THE VISIT

Go up the path which starts in front of “Ristorante Gandria” to La Madonna and then continue to the signposted turning which leads to the Predescia Boulder.

TO LEARN MORE

AA.VV. (1999): Sentiero naturalistico e archeologico di Gandria. 51 pp. Disponibile presso Lugano Turismo.
BINDA F. (1996): Archeologia rupestre nella Svizzera italiana. Armando Dadò Editore, Locarno, 224 pp.
COTTI G. et al. (1990): Introduzione al paesaggio naturale del Cantone Ticino. Vol. 1: Le componenti naturali, Bellinzona, 484 pp.
DECUYPER H. & ANTOGNINI M. (2008): Magie di pietra: paesaggi geologici del Ticino. Armando Dadò Editore, Locarno, 159 pp.

www.geoinsubria.it

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Programma di cooperazione transfrontaliera Italia - Svizzera 2007 - 2013 Progetto cofinanziato dal Fondo Europeo Sviluppo Regionale (FESR)
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