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Excavation

  • Grotta Fumane
  • Grotta Fumane
  • Riparo Solinas
  • Italy
  • Veneto
  • Provincia di Verona
  • Fumane

Tools

Credits

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Summary (English)

  • Grotta di Fumane lies at the base of a rock cliff at 350 m a.s.l. on the southern edge of the Veneto Pre-Alps, in the North of Italy. The cave belongs to a fossil karst system probably composed of several cavities and tunnels excavated in dolomitic limestone. After a first exploration carried out by the Natural History Museum of Verona in 1964, the site has been the object since 1988 of a new series of investigations, bringing to light an impressive sequence of Middle and Upper Paleolithic levels.

    The sequence documents the main climatic events which occurred during the last glacial cycle from 90.000 to 30.000 years ago and affected the human settlement. Excavations are conducted on a regular basis every year by the University of Ferrara under the patronage of the Superintendence for the Archeological Heritage.

    After an ancient landslide which completely obstructed the external vault was removed in 1996, a sheltered area of almost 60 sq m was brought to light and extensive digging began, with the aim of investigating evidence of the last Neanderthals and the first anatomically modern humans. Thousands of flint flakes and cores, bones, teeth, charcoal, worked pebbles, bone retouchers and hammers prove that Neanderthals lighted fire, manufactured stone tools, butchered ungulates, carnivores and birds, and treated hides and pelts. From the Aurignacian up, dwelling structures, lithic assemblages, bone and antler tools, painted stones and pierced molluscan shells mark the arrival of the first Anatomically Modern Humans.

    Neverheless, the archeological evidence prove that also Neanderthals achieved a level of behavioral complexity that was not culturally transmitted or mimicked via incoming modern humans.

    Now the cave is open to the public after protection was made in 2005. Visitors can acceed to the entrance of the cave also during the archaeological fieldwork and see the sections showing the finely layered Paleolithic sequence.

  • Marco Peresani - Università degli Studi di Ferrara 

Director

  • Marco Peresani - Università degli Studi di Ferrara

Team

  • Andrea Picin - Università di Tarragona
  • Camille Jéquier - Università degli Studi di Ferrara
  • Elisa di Taranto - Università degli Studi di Ferrara
  • Laura Cento - Università degli Studi di Ferrara
  • Matteo Romandini - Università degli Studi di Ferrara
  • Nicola Nannini - Università degli Studi di Ferrara
  • Rossella Duches - Museo delle Scienze di Trento
  • Marco Peresani - Università degli Studi di Ferrara

Research Body

  • Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (Germania): Department of Human Evolution
  • Museo Nazionale Preistorico Etnografico "L. Pigorini", Roma (Italia): Sezione di Paleontologia del Quaternario e Archeozoologia
  • Neanderthal Museum (Germania)
  • Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Toscana: Centro di Restauro, Laboratorio di Analisi
  • University of Cambridge (Regno Unito): McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research
  • University of Oxford (Regno Unito): Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit (ORAU), Research Laboratory for Archaeology
  • Università degli Studi di Milano, Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra ‘A.Desio’
  • Università degli Studi di Torino: Dipartimento di Anatomia, Farmacologia, Medicina legale
  • Università degli studi di Ferrara, Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici, Sezione di preistoria e Antropologia
  • Université de Bordeaux 1 (Francia): De la Préhistoire à l'Actuel: Culture, Environnement et Anthropologie (PACEA)
  • Université de Nice Sophia Antipolis (Francia): Cultures et Environnement Préhistoire, Antiquité, Moyen Age (CEPAM)
  • Université de Paris I, Panthéon-La Sorbonne (Francia): Institut d'Art et d'Archéologie

Funding Body

  • Banca Valpolicella
  • Comune di Fumane
  • Fondazione Cariverona
  • Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (Germania): Department of Human Evolution
  • Parco Naturale Regionale della Lessinia
  • Regione Veneto
  • Roberto Gardina, Albino Armani
  • Studio Odontoiatrico Associato Reasibilla
  • The National Geographic Society

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