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  • Grotta dell’Eremita
  • Borgosesia, Monte Fenera
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    Credits

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    Monuments

    Periods

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    Chronology

    • 1700 BC - 1350 BC
    • 100 BC - 500 AD
    • 1600 AD - 1800 AD

    Season

      • The Grotta dell’Eremita (Borgosesia, VC) is situated on Monte Fenera mountain, the only complex of sedimentary rocks in the Valsesia. The area is protected from the Monte Fenera Natural Park . The calcareous-dolomitic banks are characterized by many cavities and in the Jurrasic formations (Low and Middle Lias) the presence of gray silex is noticeable. Further archaeological discoveries dating back to different eras – from Middle Palaeolithic to the Middle age – have been made. The cave, at 595 m. above sea level, on the western side of the mountains is a small cavity and it develops for about 6 meters long. In 2012 University of Geneva has undertaken excavations aimed at identifying the stratigraphic sequence of the deposits relating to the human occupation in various periods and the succession of natural events. Various ceramics contemporary, some historic, proto-prehistoric fragments and some metallic jewellery elements were found (Middle Bronze Age).
      • The excavation took place over four weeks (from June 24, 2013 to July 20, 2013) during which time we expanded the previous stratigraphical survey from 2012 to a total excavation area of 10m2. At this time, no archaeological material has been recovered above the 120m mark (above the surface level), though up to this altitude numerous archaeological remains attributable to a chronological period between the Late Bronze Age and the Middle Bronze Age have been identified. The archaeological material is mainly concentrated at the bottom of the cave and demonstrates strong correlations between each item. The corpus consists of numerous pottery fragments, objects in copper alloys, rare lithic flint tools, and numerous fragments of fauna, some of which exhibit signs of burning.
      • The archaeological excavation of the Grotta dell’Eremita are undertaken by the Laboratoire d’archéologie préhistorique et anthropologie - Institut F.-A. Forel – Sciences de la Terre et de l’environnement of the Université de Genève by allowance from the Ministero dei Beni Culturali Ambientali e del Turismo e della Soprintendenza per i Beni archeologici del Piemonte e del Museo Antichità Egizie. The excavation took place over 5 weeks (from June 23, 2014 to July 26, 2014), during which time we expanded the previous excavated area to a total of 14 m2. All the archaeological and stratigraphical observations are confirmed with some news data about the spatial distribution of the remains. The archaeological material is mainly concentrated at the bottom and in a new area nearby the entrance. The corpus consists of numerous pottery fragments, objects, rare lithic flint tools, and numerous fragments of fauna, some of which exhibit signs of burning In collaboration with researchers from Geneva University (Stéphanie Girardclos, Institut F.-A. Forel – Sciences de la Terre et de l’environnement) and from Bern University (Daniele Colombaroli, Universität Bern), some geological and palinological samples were taken and their study is ongoing. The season’s main objective to excavate all Bronze age layers on half of the cave was achieved. The results provide more evidence regarding the geological and archaeological history of the cave.
      • The excavations in the Grotta dell’Eremita are carried out by the University of Geneva’s Laboratory of Prehistoric Archaeology and Anthropology – F-A. Forel Institute – Earth and Environmental Sciences. This season’s objectives were to complete the excavation of the surface investigated in 2014 and to open new excavations in the south side of the cave and the atrium area. A total surface area of 15 m2 was excavated. The chronological and stratigraphical observations documented during previous campaigns were confirmed and new evidence recorded regarding the spatial distribution of the finds. The body of finds included numerous pottery fragments (some forms were reconstructable), rare lithic industry (flint), and numerous faunal fragments, some of which burnt. Six charcoal samples were sent for dating to the Swiss Federal Institute for Technology (ETH) in Zürich. Sediment and pollen samples were also taken and are being studied at the Universities of Geneva and Bern. The aim was to fully excavate the middle Bronze Age level across the entire surface inside the cavern, but this was not completed. However, the new evidence provided a more complete picture of the types of occupation and a better definition of its geological history.
      • The excavations in the Grotta dell’Eremita are carried out by the Laboratoire d’archéologie préhistorique et anthropologie - Institut F.-A. Forel – Sciences de la Terre et de l’environnement of Geneva University. The principal objective of this season’s work was to complete the excavation of the surfaces investigated in 2015 (strips F and G in Quadrants 1-6, the niche to the rear). A total area of about 10 m2 was excavated. The chronological and stratigraphic observations from the preceding campaigns were confirmed with new evidence regarding the spatial distribution of the finds: numerous pottery fragments (some reconstructable), occasional lithic industry in flint (1 arrowhead), numerous faunal remains, some of which burnt, and a bronze arrowhead. The charcoal samples that were sent to the Swiss Federal Institute for Technology (ETH) in Zurich for dating confirmed the Bronze Age horizon for several levels. It was not possible to complete the excavation of the middle Bronze Age level across the entire internal surface of the cavern. The new evidence provided a more complete picture of how the cavern was occupied and of its geological history.

    Bibliography

      • M. Besse, S. Viola, F. Cattin, C. von Tobel, 2014, “La Grotte de l’Eremita au Monte Fenera (Vercelli, Italie) : nouvelles découvertes du Bronze moyen”, in Bullinger J., Crotti P., Huguenin Cl. (ed.), De l’âge du Fer à l’usage du verre. Mélanges offert à Gilbert Kaenel, dit « Auguste », à l’occasion de son 65e anniversaire, Cahiers d’archéologie romande, Lausanne: 291-296.
      • M. Besse , S. Viola 2014, Gli scavi dell’Università di Ginevra alla Grotta dell’Eremita sul monte Fenera a Borgosesia”, De Valle Sicida, a. 2013, v. 23: 7-20.
      • M. Besse , S. Viola, 2014, “Borgosesia, Monte Fenera. Grotta dell’Eremita. Primi sondaggi in una grotta archeologicamente inedita”, Quaderni della Soprintendenza Archeologica del Piemonte, a. 2013, v. 28: 295-297.
      • M. Besse, S. Viola, 2015, Borgosesia, Monte Fenera, Grotta dell'Eremita. Le campagne di scavo 2013 e 2014. Quaderni della Soprintendenza Archeologica del Piemonte, 30, 397-399.
      • E. Derenne, 2016, Les niveaux de l'âge du Bronze de la grotte de l'Eremita sur le Monte Fenera (Vercelli, Italie) : Fouilles 2012-2015. Université de Genève.