VALDIERI, Archaeological area and museum


The archaeological area is located along the old road to Valdieri, in a large flat area at the foot of Rocca San Giovanni and Punta Saben. The rocky walls protect the area from cold winds and retain heat, favouring the presence of particular naturalistic settlements, as evidenced by the presence of the Juniper Phoenician Reserve and the Butterfly Trail. These characteristics - together with the magnificent position overlooking the confluence of the waters - are probably at the origin of the choice of this place as a burial ground. Here, in fact, excavations carried out between 1984 and 2001 by Piedmont's Archaeological Heritage Office brought to light a small cremation necropolis in use between the 14th and 6th centuries BC. The few burials as well as the privileged position and the long period of use of this site suggest that it was intended for particularly important people such as chiefs or priests. Eleven tombs and a cenotaph have been identified in this complex, representing the will of the living to preserve the memory of an individual who died or was buried far from the community. The funeral rite in use was cremation and the excavations also revealed an area used for funeral pyres. This complex also includes 8 wooden huts used for hospitality, to immerse oneself in nature and history.

The hut and the educational tour

In 2013 a hut for educational purposes was built in the area behind the necropolis. It is a faithful reconstruction of a Bronze Age structure. A space for cultivation, a kiln for firing pottery and an enclosure for animals were placed around the hut with the same educational purpose. These structures are accessible thanks to cultural animation and specific didactic programmes that illustrate the practical activities of the Bronze Age, such as the noble art of weaving, the manufacturing of ceramic objects, the breeding of sheep and pigs , which was documented here between the 2nd and 1st millennium BC. In the absence of original objects from Cuneo, the hut and its furnishings were reproduced on the basis of models attested in contemporary contexts in northern Italy. In particular, the hut was designed starting from the excavation data of the Ponte San Marco di Calcinato site, in the province of Brescia. The excavation data show that, in the protohistoric period, these buildings were made of oak or ash, resistant and flexible woods. For the reconstruction of Valdieri, however, chestnut was chosen, as it is easier to find. The walls are made of a weave of hazel branches covered with mud, sand and straw; the structure is partly visible for educational purposes. The roof is covered with rye straw, according to a tradition that has been attested in the Gesso Valley also in much more recent times.

The museum: fragments of history

The museum called “Fragments of history. Living and dying in the Gesso Valley 3,000 years ago” is housed in Casa Lovera, which overlooks the main village square. ". The first section displays finds from excavations and discoveries in various localities of the valley that testify its frequentation since the Copper Age (3,500 - 2,200 BC). Specific chapters are dedicated to the Bandito Caves in Roaschia, one of the most important sites in Piedmont with evidence of cave bears, and to the necropolis in Entracque, which remained in use from the 5th century BC until the 2nd century AD. The second section is dedicated to the protohistoric necropolis and displays the finds from the tombs, illustrating through drawings the funerary practices of the Bronze and Iron Ages. Through a series of comments and drawings, the didactic apparatuses convey a special meaning to these objects allowing us to understand their original function: this is the case of the fibulae and the metal elements used in women's clothing, which have become the symbol of this archaeological itinerary.


Direction: Paolo Ansaldi
Post-Production: VDEA Produzioni
Translation: Europa 92
Copywrite and research: Laura Marino


ATL del Cuneese


Marco Gandino