Field trip 2 – Borgosesia

Field trip 2 – Borgosesia


Borgosesia (Vercelli) | August 26, 2018


Ciota Ciara cave, excavation of the US 14 (photo E. Ghelma).

Field trip to “Carlo Conti” Museum of Borgosesia and visit of Ciota Ciara cave; archaeological excavations are directed by Prof. Marta Arzarello (Ferrara University – Deputy Secretary-General of UISPP – UNESCO)

Fee : 35€ (including lunch)



7:30 | Meeting in Turin and departure by bus.

10:00 | Arrival in Borgosesia; tour guide of the “Archaeological and Paleoethological Museum Carlo Conti”, led by Prof. Marta Arzarello.

Inside the Museum it will be possible to see the Paleoethnological and archaeological remains coming from the Monte Fenera Mountain from the Middle Paleolithic to the Roman Age.

12:00Transfer by bus and then walk about 40 minutes to reach the cave.

13:00 | Lunch near the cave.

14:00Visit of the Ciota Ciara Cave and of the major other caves of the mountain, led by Prof. Marta Arzarello, director of excavations.

Return to the bus.

16:00 | Departure to Turin. Possibility of direct transfer to the airport.

The Museum

The Museum of Archaeology and Palaeontology “Carlo Conti” is dedicated to Carlo Conti, sculptor, archaeologist and Honorary Inspector of Antiquity, who dealed with Archaeology since 1930s in Valsesia. In particular, he studied and detected many petroglyphs of Bronze Age on Monte Bego, France.

The Museum exhibits osseous remains of Neandertal, unique case of discovery in Piedmont, discovered in the Cave of Ciota Ciara.


The cave of Ciota Ciara

Ciota Ciara cave, general view of the entrance (photo E. Ghelma)

The cave of Ciota Ciara (670 m a.s.l.) is located on the western slope of Mount Fenera, at the mouth of the Val Sesia; it is part of the complex of caves which to date has provided the most important and complete evidence of the Piedmont Palaeolithic. It is an active karstic cave with a development of c. 80 m along the main branch which has two accesses: a south-west triangular inlet and a west secondary opening stemming from the collapse of a portion of the cave’s wall.

After years of interruption, the research and excavations started again in 2009 by the University of Ferrara that has allowed to highlight a stratigraphic sequence with an output of about 1.60 m in the atrial area of ​​the cave.

The whole fauna is dominated by Ursus spelaeus, wile Ursus arctos is more abundant in the upper layers and becomes less represented in the lower ones. Other carnivores found at the site are Panthera leo, Panthera pardus, Lynx lynx, Canis lupus, Vulpes vulpes, Meles meles, Martes martes. The ungulates are less represented and show a slight increase in the number of the remains down towards the deeper layers. Among the species present are: Rupicapra rupicapra, Cervus elaphus, Stephanorhinus sp. and Bos sp

The analysis of small mammals has allowed to attribute the central levels of the sequence to a temperate period. The radiometric dates attribute the same levels to about 300,000 years ago.

The stone tools are mainly made with local medium quality raw materials: flint, spongolite and quartz. The reduction sequences are short, in relation to the mediocre quality of raw materials, but show all the typical characteristics of a Middle Paleolithic assemblage. The lithic assemblage is dominated by an opportunistic method, followed by discoid and Levallois methods. The retouched blanks are not very frequent and consist mainly of scrapers, notches and denticulates.