Archaeologist for a day
Any family looking for ways to give children an experience out of the ordinary will be thrilled by this excursion organized entirely around archaeology.
Modena’s connection to its past is deep, and archaeological sites can be found throughout the city and the province.
Ancient artifacts and the stories they have to tell create an atmosphere that carries you back in time. Ingredients like these make this day a special experience for the whole family.
Here’s your gateway to a magical journey of discovery.
An Archaeological Excursion for the Whole Family
First stop: Palazzo dei Musei, the archaeological collection and the Roman Lapidary Museum
This fascinating journey through the history of Modena and the surrounding area moves from the Paleolithic to the threshold of the Middle Ages. The Palazzo dei Musei is your portal to distant worlds. The Civic Museum in the Palazzo houses some of the earliest artifacts of prehistory: from the first handmade tools to the discovery of art and from the birth of agriculture to the advent of building projects.
Before leaving the Palazzo dei Musei, stop at the Roman Lapidary Museum on the ground floor. The epigraphs and the portraits on funerary monuments found in the necropolis let you discover the people of ancient “Mutina,” the Roman city that would one day be Modena.
Second stop: The Novi Ark Archaeology Park
A short walk away is the Novi Ark Archaeology Park, developed after archaeological discoveries were made during the construction of the Novi Park underground parking structure.
In addition to a large Roman cobbled road, excavations unearthed a necropolis with numerous tombs and funerary monuments, two rural buildings, tanks and workshops, and landfills containing amphorae and other archaeological materials.
The lives of Roman citizens begin to be revealed in a self-guided tour that follows informational signage from the surface to the first level of the underground parking structure.
Third stop: The Montale Open-Air Archaeological Park and Museum
The Montale Open-Air Archaeological Park and Museum, a few kilometers from the center of Modena, highlights what took place some 3,500 years ago in the vast river valley. Through reconstructions based on archaeological excavation and study, a staff of archaeologists reveals the life of the village that existed there more than three millennia ago.
In the striking open-air museum, alongside reconstructions of ancient dwellings, you’ll witness the daily activities of Bronze Age communities: the production and firing of vases, the manufacture of weapons and tools in bronze, flintknapping, weaving with looms, basketmaking, woodworking, the carving of deer antlers, and lighting the village’s fires.
Your visit is guided by Aran, the old Terramara wise man who periodically recounts the heroic exploits of warriors and the everyday lives of the men and women of his time.
The schedule of activities and workshops at the Terramara di Montale Open-Air Archaeological Park and Museum is rich and varied. For more specific information, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Fourth stop: The Museo dell’Elefante (“Elephant Museum”)
If you have time, continue to the town of Savignano sul Panaro, not far from the charming village of Vignola, where you’ll find the Museo dell’Elefante (“Elephant Museum”). This permanent exhibit illustrates local history and prehistory as revealed through archeological and paleontological discoveries. In particular, the Museum houses the partial skeleton of a female mammoth (dated to the end of the Pliocene Epoch) and a copy of the famous Venus of Savignano statuette.
Through varied destinations and diverse experiences, the “Archaeologist for a Day” outing brings to life the thrill of the ancient world and demonstrates its important role in local history and culture.
This delightful family outing is certain to please both adults and children.