The Paleontological Museum in Montevarchi was re–opened at the end of 2014, after 7 years of renovation. This operation gave the Museum a new image completed by a modern structure, open spaces and a more intuitive organization.
At the entrance, the visitor will be surprised from the symbol of the Museum: the complete skull of the Mammuthus meriodionalis, an extinct elephant specie that dates back to one million years ago, with its huge tusks.
On the first floor in addition to the entrance and the bookshop, it will be possible to find a first selection or remains and on the second floor the conclusion of the Museum’s collection.
The collection, before the restoration, did not have a didactic order, as they followed its structure from the 19thcentury, whereas the new exposition was thought for the modern visitor whom will be able to find near all finds informative pannels that gives the fossil a temporal and environmental collocation.
The collection consists of over 2600 fossils coming almost exclusively from the plio–pleistocenic sediments (from 3 million to 200,000/100,000 years ago) of the upper Valdarno.
Among the fossil we also have vegetal remains, among them, we can find pieces of log, leaves, fruits and seeds. Exceedingly significant are the animal remains.
Among these, the most important are the remains of mastodons, tapirs, rhinoceros, primitive bovids and primitive black bears, which are typical of the first phase (Pliocene) of the upper Valdarno (Lignite mine in Santa Barbara, Castelnuovo di Sabbioni).
In the second phase are very important the remains of the Elephans Meridionalis (elephant), saber–tooth “tiger”, giant hyenas, as well as many species of herbivorous and carnivorous animals. Among these, we can find the Canis Etruscus, a canid that had similar habits to the modern African wild dog, whose skull is the “TIPO”, in other words the first fossil on which a scholar has defined a new species.
The sediments of the third phase, the most recent, gave proof of the existence of the forest elephant, of the mammoth, of the steppe rhinoceros and other species which are still living today, for example horse, boar, red deer, roe and wolf.
Finally, from the end of this phase, come proofs of ancient prehistoric communities of hunters–harvesters who lived in Valdarno about 200,000 years ago. Copies of flints, one of which is attached to a wooden stick that was used, probably, for the hunt, can also be seen.
The collection includes casts of primitive human skulls.
Director: Dott.ssa Elena Facchino
Curator: Dott. Marco Rustioni
Archeological section Curator: Dott.ssa Valentina Cimarri