The Fate cave

An inhabited cave by the Neanderthal man at Le Mànie

The Fate cave (Fairy cave) was already known as an archaeological site in the last decades of the 19th century when, after the reporting of Captain Enrico Alberto D’Albertis, research started after the discovery of bone fragments and of chipped stone artefacts. Arturo Issels excavation and most of all the excavations carried out by Father Giovanni Battista Amerano demonstrate the importance of the cave, that in more recent times has been investigated with further scientific studies.

In the Fairy cave, as in the other archaeological sites of the Mànie plateau, various stone manufacts belonging to the late Palaeolithic age (350 thousand – 130 thousand years ago) were associated also with faunistic remains, some of which with traces of combustion. These were discovered during the course of a series of archaeological campaigns carried out from 1983 to 1987 by an international study group, with the participation of the Archaeological Museum of Finale.

MORE INFORMATION – The Fate Cave

Other than these testimonies of such a remote human presence in Finale, referable to Homo heidelbergensis, the Fairy cave is particularly important for northern Italian prehistory with the fact that, from the layers datable to 70 thousand years ago, 16 fragments  of human bones were discovered, also in an incomplete state, that belonged to the Neanderthal man. Such human remains were partially recuperated by G.B. Amerano at the end of the 19th century and partially came to light during more recent excavations include remains of adults and children.

In the Fairy cave the Neanderthals left evidence of their existence also through hearths and numerous chipped stone tools. To build their tools they used various kinds of rocks: principally quartzite and limestone. This not only documents a certain opportunism but also demonstrates that they had reached an advanced technique, so skilled as to be able to make efficient tools even from inadequate types of stone.

The cave also preserved numerous remains of cave bears (Ursus spelaeus) that lived around between 200 thousand and 20 thousand years ago. Cave bears were spread out in the majority of European territory, apart from the most southern areas. They preferred environments with medium forestation or with scarce vegetation with a mild climate to almost a cold climate. In the winter months the bears would hibernate in caves: this kind of behaviour has made possible the finding of a large quantity of bones of bears that died within the cave where they were staying, just like in the Fairy cave. A complete bear skeleton in now exhibited in the halls of the Archaeological Museum of Finale along with the other findings of the cave.

HOW TO REACH

THE FATE CAVE

How to reach the site

The cave can be reached on foot by following a path that descends from the road of Le Mànie.

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