Saint-Martin-de-Corléans Archaeological Museum

Even before the Salassi, the Romans and the Augusta Praetoria era, the territory we now call Aosta was inhabited by other ancient populations. The Archaeological Museum of Saint-Martin-de-Corléans aims to tell their story, set long ago in the 5th millennium BC, which continued until the 2nd millennium BC.

The term “megalithic” scarcely does justice to the quantity of finds excavated in this area, linked to the most disparate functions, from votive to more practical use according to the period they pertain to.
In general terms, the site actually knew two different uses: initially a simple place of worship, two millennia later it became an authentic necropolis, and it is here that the megalithic part comes into play, with standing stones, totems in the likeness of humans, large stone shapes and the striking setting created by the museum, which aims to immerse visitors totally in the early Neolithic and then the Bronze Age, almost as if they themselves had gone back in time and become the ancient settlers of this area.

This leap so far backwards in history is, however, accompanied by the most modern technology a contemporary museum can offer: virtual reconstructions show the original appearance of the numerous objects – ceramics, bone fragments and much more – while skilful lighting and an overall chronological sequence reconstruct the most historically significant events in the megalithic area of Saint Martin de Corlèans.

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INTERESTING FACTS

  • The museum’s covered megalithic area is a marvel not just historically but also in museum terms: it actually occupies some 4,000 square metres and is lit by 500 directable spotlights which simulate the alternation of day and night.

TIPS

  • While the start of the visit involves a journey in time from the present day to antiquity, to reach the megalithic burial ground visitors have to descend to a depth of six metres.
  • Extremely fascinating are the anthropomorphic stelae dating back to the 3rd millennium BC, whose detailed features and clothing mean they are considered authentic examples of ancient art.
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