Extraordinary discoveries from the cave of Arene Candide

The first two rooms on the first floor of the Museum are dedicated to the extraordinary finds made at the Cave delle Arene Candide (SV) in the excavations carried out in the 1940s and 50s.

The remains of a young hunter were found at 6.70m of depth inside the cave. He was nicknamed “Principe delle Arene Candide” (Prince of Arene Candide) because of richness of the grave goods with which he was buried: hundreds of perforated shells that decorated the headdress , a long stone blade, ivory mammoth pendants, parts of carved moose horns. The boy died about 24,000 years ago from a serious injury to his left shoulder and jaw. His burial compares with that of another hunter found in Russia over 3000 km away. Both were part of the culture called "Gravettiana" documented in Europe from Portugal to Russia and from Italy to England as can be seen in the large geographical map in the room.

The following display cases, in the same room, display an ancient "cemetery" found inside the Cave of Arene Candide (SV). About 11,000 years ago, in two different phases separated by a few centuries, about twenty men, children, women and young people were buried. They were hunter-gatherers who lived in Liguria at the end of the ice age. Their goods include pebbles, colouring substances, remains of numerous animals including a fish, small stone tools, which teach us something of their spiritual world and the environmental aspects of the place in which they lived.

During the Neolithic period, over 6500 years ago, a small human community lived in the cave of the Arene Candide: the cave sheltered their animals, was a place to prepare and consume food, manufacture tools and ornaments, bury the dead. The burials are inside stone boxes and the two exhibited in the room belong to an adult woman and man. They show how robust the Ligurian population of the time were also in terms of the travelling necessary for the pastoral activities of the period.