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The first inhabitants

Prehistory in the Maritime Alps

One of the finds from the burial ground, Valdieri "at the foot of the mountains"(A. Rivelli/PNAM)

The mention of prehistory in the Southern Alps automatically brings to mind the 36,000 rock engravings of the Vallee des Merveilles on the French side, where the people who frequented these places in ancient times carved figures on the rocks, warriors, hunters animals and sacred symbols. But there are significant signs of prehistoric human presence on this side too, at Lago del Vei del Bouc. There are a few engravings that are almost invisible even to the most attent tourist, but they are important from an archeological point of view.

The Maritime Alps were in use from the end of the last glaciation, around 8,000 years ago when the first groups of nomadic hunter-gatherers started to move up the valleys now free of snow.

The pastures and water courses of these mountains were much appreciated by the neolithic shepherds, who moved into the mountains to feed their sheep and goats. Low in the Valle Stura we have evidence of migrating pastoralists in a settlement dating 4,600 BC: the Grotte di Aisonesettlement.

A more recent find, from a period between the end of the Bronze Age and the Iron Age the burial ground, Valdieri is a small monumental sepulchre, probably intended to receive the remains of important members of the comunity, such as chiefs or priests. The funerary objects, a reconstruction and other information concerning the site can be seen at the Museo della Resistenza e del Territorio di Valdieri.


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