Antonio Gottarelli
Annachiara Penzo

The archaeological and naturalistic area of Monte Bibele

tel: +39051929766
fax: +39051929766
mob: +393291949532



December 02, 2018 Laboratori creativi per bambini

Presso il Museo Civico Archeologico “L. Fantini”, L’associazione Arc.a Monte Bibele in collaborazione con Conapi-Mielizia presenta:

Ore 15:30 laboratori creativi per bambini (dai 4 anni in su)
I bambini realizzeranno candele in cera d’api e particolarissime decorazioni natalizie in argilla*.
Costo a bambino: 4 euro.
Prenotazione obbligatoria, posti limitati

(*Vi aspettiamo in museo a partire dal 15 dicembre per ritirare le decorazioni in argille cotte nel nostro forno!)

December 08, 2018 Regalo di Natale

Un regalo di Natale dell’associazione Arc.a Monte Bibele ai possessori della Card Musei Metropolitani di Bologna

Ore 15:30 visita guidata con archeologo al Museo Civico Archeologico “L. Fantini”, via del Museo 2, Monterenzio
Solo per questa occasione: ingresso gratuito per i possessori della card con visita guidata scontata del 30%: 7 euro anziché 10 euro a persona (5 euro dai 6 ai 14 anni; gratuito dai 0 a 5 anni).

The archaeological and naturalistic area of Monte Bibele

The massif of Monte Bibele

The first archaeological discoveries on the Monte Bibele massif date from a few years after the Allies broke through the German Gothic Line defences in this sector, in the Fall of 1944. The earliest excavations were carried out in the Sixties by volunteers from the townships of Monterenzio and Loiano. Between 1972 and 1975, the first regular archaeological digs were held by the Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici (“Archaeology Heritage Office”) of Emilia-Romagna. From 1979 onward, this was followed by the still ongoing systematic campaign of excavations conducted by the Department of Archaeology (later merged into the Department of History, Cultures, and Civilisations) of the University of Bologna.
After the Municipal Museum of Monterenzio opened in 2000, the Emilia-Romagna Region, thanks to a POS ERDF grant from the European Union, provided financial support to the University of Bologna and the township of Monterenzio for an widespread upgrade of the “Monte Bibele Area for Archaeology and Conservation”. This made it possible to upgrade the whole area, carry out the musealization of Etrusco-Celtic habitat of Pianella di Monte Savino, build an Interpretive and Service Centre, and restore the ancient “Via della Carrozza” route.
New digs, restoration work, excavating and reinstating ancient floor levels, internal road links, and water management systems, on-site reconstruction of two homesteads, reinforcement of paths and terraces according to current safety requirements – all of these have dramatically renewed this hitherto little-known archaeological site. This is a fundamental starting point in an ongoing process to make it well- known, fully visible, and easily accessible on the European level.

The massif of Monte Bibele

The massif of Monte Bibele

The massif of Monte Bibele is located between the Idice and Zena Valleys, in the north of San Benedetto del Querceto and Quinzano. Made of sandstone and malmstone, it is featured by several peaks and a plateau, sometimes surrounded by steep slopes. The main peaks are Monte Bibele (600 m above sea level), after which the entire massif is named, Monte Tamburino (575 m above sea level) and Monte Savino (550 m above sea level), whose east side is called “Pianella di Monte Savino”.
The position of the massif, which overlooks both valleys up to the Raticosa Pass, together with the profusion of spring waters (the name Bibele probably comes from the Latin root bib-, that means “to drink”) made this mountain very appropriate for human settlement. As a matter of fact, the massif is rich in archaeological evidence, dating from the Copper Age, which however becomes richer in the Bronze Age and in the Second Iron Age.
As far as the Bronze Age is concerned, fireplaces and hut remains have been found both on Pianella di Monte Savino and on Monte Tamburino.
Concerning the Iron Age, excavations have brought to light the remains of an Etruscan sacred area (votive depot) at the south-western feet of Monte Tamburino, an Etruscan-Celtic village on Pianella di Monte Savino, as well as the related necropolis on Monte Tamburino. Last but not least, several finds and artificial ditches found on the peak of Monte Bibele probably indicate the existence of a sacred Celtic area.

The votive depot

The votive depot

The discovery of a votive depot on Monte Bibele was totally fortuitous. The first excavation tests run in 1989 on the south-western side of Monte Tamburino, as well as the subsequent excavation campaigns (1993-95), intended to investigate the latest part of the necropolis related to the Etruscan-Celtic village of Pianella di Monte Savino.
In the explored area (110 square meters) a large depression has come to light, which allow us to imagine the existence of an ancient little lake or source.
In the filling soil of this basin (35-40 cm deep in the middle), 195 little bronze statues have been found: these figurines, typical products of 5th century BC Etruscan-Italic arts and crafts, show a particular resemblance to the coeval stylized bronzes found in Bologna and on the surrounding Apennines.
Together with the bronze figurines, a lot of pottery has been found: hundreds of miniaturised vases and several normal sized vases certainly produced in the northern Etruscan workshops in the 5th century BC. If several finds can be compared with Attic black painted pottery, most of the finds are grey pottery, “buccheroide” vases as well as black painted pottery made in the area of Volterra, which seem to indicate that the use of the depot may have lasted up to a later chronological period (second half/end of the 4th century BC).
Bronzes and pottery were laid down as votive offers around or inside the little lake, but no traces of building arrangement have been found, nor it has been possible to identify the worshipped deity.

The celtic-etruscan village of Pianella di Monte Savino

The celtic-etruscan village of Pianella di Monte Savino

Around 400 BC, a village was built on the slope of Pianella di Monte Savino, which was shaped in about ten artificial terraces, about 10 m wide. On these “platforms” sandstone walls were built in order to contain the embankments and to hold external walls of the houses.
Wood was used to support roofs, external and internal walls, upper floors. The roof was made of thatch, vegetable fibres or wood; no tiled roofs are attested.
Between the top and the lowest level of the village the height difference is around 30 mt: a net of streets (2 or 3 m wide) cuts across or follows the slope; rainwater from the roofs ran along the streets and disappeared at the feet of the village, squeezing into the bowels of the mountain, in a natural hole known as Tana del Tasso. In the same point a monumental cistern was built (capacity: 80 cubic meters), as the only structure for collective utility.
The surface of the houses is around 40 sq. m: they may contain one or two fireplaces, a warehousing area for food, a place reserved for domestic activities like spinning and weaving. An example of house with its furniture has been reconstructed inside the Museum of Monterenzio.
Several houses were probably used also as warehouses and granaries: as a matter of fact, inside some houses archaeologists have found large amounts of carbonised cereals and legumes.
Despite the impervious nature of the site, the village of Monte Bibele was conquered by Romans and destroyed by an implacable fire. The inhabitants had to escape, having no time to collect their things. In this way, 2000 years later, under the debris archaeologists were able to find everything that was in the houses and warehouses at the moment of the devastating fire: working tools, millstones for flour, wine amphorae for Magna Graecia wine, coin treasures, food supplies. The destruction occurred between 200 and 187 BC.
The Romans wanted to make the Via Flaminia “minor” secure, the consular road which ran on the crest in front of Monte Bibele (Idice-Sillaro), which joined Arezzo to Bologna, and which was built in the same years as Via Aemilia.

The necropolis of Monte Tamburino

The votive depot

A necropolis, which can be dated from the end of the 5th century BC, and which must surly be related to the village of Pianella di Monte Savino, occupied the crown and the western side of Monte Tamburino.
161 graves have been found thanks to systematic and scientific field researches, while clandestine excavations have brought to light about ten tombs.
The present ground line does not correspond to the ancient one: erosion has ground down the crest of the mountain, while in the lowest part the ground line has risen. For this reason, at the top of the mountain most graves could be recognised almost immediately under the ground line, while at the lowest part of the slope tombs were found at a deeper level.
On the top of the mountain, which is almost flat, the 39 pits, are located very distant one from the other (about 3 m), preferably oriented NW-SE; along the southern and the northern sides, respectively 14 and 103 tombs are placed in a quite linear order: particularly, on the northern slope, graves were organised in four rows, mixed with groups of smaller incineration pits. In this sector, the pits are located crosswise regarding the slope, and they are characterised by an access corridor (dromos) placed in the middle of the downstream side.
A larger group of incinerations, apparently without any particular organisation, is located at the north-western end of the slope. On the whole, 123 inhumation graves and 38 incinerations have come to light.
At least 4 phases can be recognised in the necropolis of Monte Tamburino, from the end of the 5th century BC to the middle of the 3rd century BC; the regular set-up of the tombs, together with the analysis of the materials, allow us to define quite precisely the order of succession of the graves. In this way, the necropolis represents a sort of register of the “deceased”, in which it is possible to find the most ancient tombs in the first pages, and the latest tombs in the final pages. In this “register” it is also possible to read some of the vicissitudes that involved the community of Monte Bibele: the most ancient tombs belong to Etruscan people, as the most recent ones belong both to Etruscans and Celts. The arrival of Celts in the community can be dated around 380 BC.

The study of the materials found in the graves, carried out by archaeologists, experts in Celtic war equipment, specialists in ancient textiles, archeozoologists, palaeoantropologists, has permitted the identification of every grave, first of all as far as the age and the sex of the deceased is concerned.
The funerary equipment is a coherently structured whole, which shows the existence of a deep-rooted ritual system at Monte Bibele, as well as at Monterenzio Vecchio, and, more generally, in the region of Bologna.
The funerary equipment includes ornaments and jewels, a pottery and metal banquet service, iron weapons, together with objects related to the social status and/or to the age of the deceased.
The graves with military equipment represent the most interesting feature of the necropolis: first of all, they demonstrate the importance of the warriors inside the community; secondly, they show very strong connections with the shapes and the evolution of the Celtic military equipment of continental Europe. These connections must be interpreted as the result of close and uninterrupted relations with the Keltiké of northern Europe.
For all these reasons, as far as the archaeology of Celts in Italy is concerned, Monte Bibele must be considered a site of international importance.

Getting here

From Monterenzio take the strada provinciale (SP7) southbound. Pass through Savazza and Bisano and get to San Benedetto del Querceto. At the crossroad take the right headed towards Loiano (SP22). At the end of the climb you arrive in Quinzano, and here you can choose between two different entries a the archaeological site:

  • on foot: to reach the trekking trail, park the car in the big square on your left ("piazza della Pace") about 200 mt. after getting through the Quinzano village. Cross the road, go right and take the first street on the left ("via S. Giuseppe") having the church on your right. Walk straight on until you reach the sign at the entry "via della Carrozza" (trail C.A.I. 803): 2.878 mt. on foot to reach the Park Headquarters. After the Park Headquarters start climbing through the woods for 811 mt. more (trail C.A.I. 805) to reach the archaeological site (Pianella di Monte Savino village).

  • by car: to arrive as close as possible by car, take the right about 200 mt. after getting through the Quinzano village (towards the Zena valley "via Zena"). Go straight for 1.800 m and you will find the main entry on your right. You can entry by car and after about 550 mt. you'll find the parking area near the Park Headquarters. After the Park Headquarters start climbing through the woods for 811 mt. more (trail C.A.I. 805) to reach the archaeological site (Pianella di Monte Savino village).

During your visit in Monte Bibele, you will find archeological evidences only in Pianella di Monte Savino village. If you like to discover also the others sites in this massif, you have to know that you won't find archeological structures, but just the suggestion of ancient natural sacred places.
At the top where trail C.A.I. 805 ends, you have the village area on you left; heading to the right, through a tight and rocky route, you get to a plain with an oak wood. Not far from there is where the votive hoard has been discovered (actual name “Le Pozze”). Keep climbing on the right side of the mountain and you will reach the necropolis area (no more visible graves left).