Casazza: Cavellas archaeological area
In the archaeological area it is possible to walk through an ancient settlement, which has been handed over to us sealed under more than four metres of debris. This is a unique opportunity to discover daily life in a Roman village.
Cavellas is a Roman village discovered between 1987 and 1992 during the construction of the Migross Supermarket in Casazza, under which it was preserved and can now be visited: following a museum project, the site has been open to the public since 2015.
Going down the stairs, which can be reached from the supermarket car park, it is possible to visit the remains of an important settlement that arose in the 1st century AD at the bottom of the Cavallina valley, along the road that connected Bergomum with the Camonica valley and the Alpine passes: not far from Cavellas, the remains of a statio were also found, i.e. a resting and changing area for the horses that were used to travel along the ancient road axis.
The village of Cavellas had a long continuity of life, during which the houses were enlarged, raised in storey and modified to house the population that lived there: there was also an open space, where there was a well and community activities took place.
From the 6th century A.D. onwards, this settlement was abandoned due to fires and floods, as well as the continuous overflowing of the Drione stream, which flowed just above the settlement, making life in Cavellas impossible. In the Middle Ages, in fact, the village moved further upstream, probably near the church of San Lorenzo, known in sources as early as the 8th century. Over the centuries, the village of Cavellas was buried under more than 4 m of debris, which, however, protected the Roman remains and preserved them in excellent condition until today.
The archaeological area covers more than 1,000 square metres and, to date, has only been partially excavated: it is possible to walk inside the ancient vicus, formed by rectangular and quadrangular houses, placed side by side to define a unitary settlement. The houses have stone walls and floors of beaten earth, mortar or stone slabs that define the rooms, which are accessed by means of stone thresholds. Inside the houses, hearths have been found (leaning against the walls or centred in the rooms) used for the daily needs of the small community, which lived by exploiting the resources of the territory.
During the archaeological excavations, numerous artefacts were recovered, such as pots and pans, loom weights and millstones. These artefacts testify to the craft activities that took place in the village (farming, breeding, fishing and weaving) and are now visible in the archaeological area, displayed in a small Antiquarium with thematic showcases.
The skillet (bowl with feet) belongs to the so-called ‘common ware”, i.e. that which was used daily for the preparation and preservation of food. This type of container was produced continuously from the end of the Republican period until the 4th-5th century AD; it is characterised by a low, wide bowl and a concave base supported by three or four conical feet, the characteristic elements from which the name of the artefact derives. As it was an object used for cooking food, the pot fabric was very coarse and with coarse inclusions, to make it more resistant to exposure to fire.
Skillets are documented in many Romanised areas, but in Lombardy they seem to be very widespread and only in the Bergamo area are they found with continuity in all chronological contexts: In addition to the specimens found in the excavations at Casazza, finds from the necropolis of Lovere, but also from Bergamo, Carrobbio degli Angeli, Curno, Arzago d’Adda, Covo and Levate are known.
To date, the precise area of their production has not yet been identified, but its widespread occurrence and standardisation indicate a concentration of production in a few centres that marketed the product on a large scale.
Loom weights are terracotta or stone artefacts that were used in vertical looms, tools that have been used since prehistoric times to intersect longitudinal threads (the warp) and transverse threads (the weft), thus creating a fabric. The weights had a through hole, into which groups of warp threads were inserted at the bottom of the structure to keep them in tension; depending on their size they could provide more or less resistance in the stretching of the thread.
The weights found in Cavellas are made of terracotta and have a truncated pyramid shape, a circular hole at the top and considerable dimensions (height 18.5 cm, width at the base 13.5 cm, diameter of the hole 2 cm). Several have been found in a room, which was probably used for weaving, a domestic activity reserved for women in the organisation of village life.
There are also marks on these objects, probably imprinted before firing, the meaning of which is still unknown: it cannot be ruled out that they were functional to their position in sequence in the frame itself or that the marking served to identify different batches within the plant that produced them.
Il Museo Cavellas ha sempre posto particolare attenzione al mondo dei ragazzi e della scuola, sviluppando negli anni proficue collaborazioni con diversi istituti; per questo sono state ideate alcune proposte didattiche rivolte alle scolaresche, mirate ad approfondire la conoscenza dell’archeologia e dell’antico abitato di Cavellas.
Il punto di partenza è sempre una visita interattiva all’area archeologica, dove sono musealizzati i resti del villaggio romano, condotta con linguaggio e metodo appropriati ai diversi target di età. A questa prima parte è possibile abbinare un’attività pratica, focalizzata su alcuni degli aspetti emersi durante l’osservazione guidata: il lavoro dell’archeologo e il ritrovamento dei reperti, la vita quotidiana, le attività artigianali, le tecniche costruttive, le credenze religiose degli abitanti di Cavellas e, più in generale, nel mondo romano.
In caso di richieste specifiche da parte degli insegnanti possono essere studiati particolari percorsi tematici, lezioni o approfondimenti, da svolgersi a scuola o presso lo spazio didattico dell’area archeologica. Il Museo Cavellas è inoltre aperto alla collaborazione con gli Istituti superiori per progetti e ricerche e per forme di alternanza scuola – lavoro.
Per ulteriori dettagli sui percorsi e i costi scarica la brochure o contatta i servizi educativi del museo: firstname.lastname@example.org – 3297197870.
Se vuoi conoscere meglio la val Cavallina, oltre all’offerta dedicata all’area archeologica Cavellas, nella brochure troverai informazioni anche sui percorsi che approfondiscono, in maniera divertente e istruttiva, le tematiche affrontate nel vicino museo storico – ambientale, che studia il rapporto tra le risorse naturali del territorio e il loro uso da parte dell’uomo.
for the visit
from March to December, Saturdays 3 p.m. – 6 p.m., Sundays 10 a.m. – 12.30 p.m., 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. During the closing period the archaelogical area is open by appointment. Guided tours for groups, also with interpreters, can be arranged by prior reservation.
- full 4 euros
- reduced 2 euros
- free based on conventions
Via Nazionale 47, 24060 Casazza (BG) Telephone: 3297197870, e-mail: email@example.com
Near the area there are a parking and a playground, parking for disabled people nearby.
- presence of elevators
- possibility of using wheelchairs
- possibility of using aids for manual mobility
- bathroom for the disabled
- tactile experience (by reservation)
- braille panels