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The first inhabitants in Valle Stura

Grotte di Aisone

The caves are a short distance from the village of Aisone, in lower Valle Stura. The archeological digs conducted in the 1950s and later in the 1990s brought to light a seasonal settlement dating back to the Middle and Late Neolithich period, (from the fifth to the beginning of the fourth century BC) era in which Piedmont saw an increase in settlements and a widespread occupation of the territory with the colonisation of the mountains well into the Alpine valleys.
Thanks to the finds from the dig, which are on display at the Museo Civico di Cuneo, we have discovered a lot about the life of the early inhabitants of Valle Stura. Hunting and shepherding, were the main means of support for the people living at this site, we know this from the animal bones they left behind, both domestic and wild (ibex, chamois, sheep and goats). Grind stones and mill stones, used to make flour and probably to produce ochre, show that they were farmers. Stone tools and bone objects show that there was a considerable amount of transformation of animal and plant materials.

The ceramic remains are extremely interesting and useful to understand the relations between quite distant communities that began in the Neolithic era. In particular, the find of a peculiar "square mouthed" vase shows that the Aisone site belongs to the Square-Mouthed Pottery culture which evolved in the first half of the fifth millennium, spreading across the whole of Northern Italy. Cups and vases with handles with holes in them, probably for passing a thong through for hanging them up, show that there was close cultural contact with western transalpine groups in the Franco-Swiss area (known as the Chasséen culture). Among the stone utensils, it is important to mention flint arrow heads, used for hunting. The use of the Aisone site is likely to have been linked to the supply of quartzite, available in the vicinity of the caves and in general in the Argentera massif area.

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