Megalithic area of Saint-Martin-de-Corléans
Area megalitica di Aosta
Corso Saint-Martin de Corléans
11100 AOSTA (AO)
Phone: (+39) 0165552420
The stratified deposit of the Saint-Martin-de-Corléans archaeological site, on the western outskirts of Aosta, covers one hectare and bears witness to the site’s uninterrupted historical development, starting from the end of the Neolithic, through the Copper, Bronze and Iron Ages, into the Roman and Late Antiquity periods up to the Middle Ages and finally reaching the Modern Era - spanning from 4200 BC until to the 21st century AD.
The Cerimonial Centre
The most ancient phase of human activity on the site is documented by ploughed furrows, which are interpreted as ritual action. This precedes large circular pits containing millstones and cereals dated to 4200 BC. Between the late 4th and early 2nd millennia BC, the site is characterized by 24 aligned wooden poles, thought to be totems, then by over 40 anthropomorphic steles in different alignments. These are believed to have been celebrative monuments placed in honour of important figures such as heroes, warriors or divinities. Stylistically two groups of steles are recognized: “archaic” with a basic anthropomorphic appearance, and “evolved” more elaborate ones with detailed depictions of body parts, garments, ornaments and weapons.
In the first half of the 3rd millennium BC the burial phase begins: monuments built of huge stones (megaliths) are raised, such as the imposing dolmen on a triangular platform. Various types of architecture can be seen: cist tombs, allées couvertes, dolmens and circular tombs. Even during the Bronze Age this area’s function remained unchanged – the steles are reused to build tombs in this same area, indicating a continuous use until Roman times.
The exhibition itinerary
The museum complex is composed of two buildings divided by the current street, the archaeological area is valorised and presented like an “open space” 6 metres below ground. The itinerary begins by a chronological path retracing stages of history from today to prehistoric times. At the archaeological level the monumental structures are modulated by lighting which changes gradually according to the time of day. The museum is divided into six sections, characterized by their own distinguishing colours, which follow and reconstruct the site’s archaeological phases. Explanations and detailed information provided on the didactic and multimedia devices guide visitors throughout their tour.