Talk abstract details

The megalithic complex of the “Preta ‘ru Mulacchio”on the Monte della Stella
Vito Francesco Polcaro, Domenico Ienna


The Monte della Stella is a 1131 m high mountain, belonging to the range separating the Alento Valley from the Tyrrhenian Sea, south of the city of Agropoli in Italy. At 1030 m over the sea-level, a large, isolated outcrop of the bedrock is present. This rock is well known to local people and called the “Preta ‘ru Mulacchio”, expression meaning in the local dialect “The Bastard Child Rock”. Modern folklore associated to this rock seems to remind very ancient fertility rites. The “Preta” is basically composed by three rocks that were originated along of natural reasons from a single block of arenite in its upper part and of a rough conglomerate in the lower one: between the three rocks, two galleries (thereafter F and G) were thus formed. However, it is easy to see that the “Preta” was deeply modified by human intervention: large stones were wedged in exact position between the three original blocks or positioned as a cover. Furthermore, basins have been excavated on the top of “Preta”, while other basins and cupmarks are present on surrounding rocks. We found that F gallery has an astronomical azimuth of 359 deg and G gallery of 240 deg. Inside the measurement precision (1 deg), the galleries are thus respectively oriented to the meridian and to the sunset of the winter solstice. From a statistical analysis of the alignments and an archaeological study of the complex, we conclude that “Preta ‘ru Mulacchio” is most probably a monument, dated to an epoch presently unknown but possibly preceding the Greek colonization of Cilento, built in order to determine with a high precision the winter solstice because of cerimonial reasons, probably connected with fertility rites.