The upper floors of the Regional Archaeological Museum in Aosta house prestigious exhibitions. The building was founded in 1633 by the marquis Pierre-Philibert Roncas and by his wife Emérentienne de Vaudan. Towards the half of the 18th century the monastery assumed the present appearance. The paintings on the façade (of the 19th century) reproduce the coat of arms of the Savoy House and the portraits of the main characters of the Challant House, who distinguished themselves for their military merits.
In the first hall are exhibited tiles and north-african oil lamps coming from regional collections. On the trail of the commercial and cultural axes of the areas of Mesopotamia and Anatolia, as well as following the transmission of megalithic monuments’ models, the exhibition includes some anthropomorphic steles discovered at the extraordinary archaeological site of Saint-Martin-de-Corléans, while in the show-cases are exposed artifacts found in Aosta Valley and dating back to the period going from the Mesolithic to the Salassi era.
Further on, the visit enters the wide space dedicated to Romanization, starting with the model of Augusta Praetoria and the milestone of Constantine, in the past positioned along the Road to Gauls. The two following rooms are reserved to the burial rituals and present some grave goods, together with a reconstruction of a funeral bed found in an incineration tomb in the necropolis of Saint Roch, at the eastern entrance of the roman city. The areas consecrated to the funeral epigraphs and local cults show various pieces, including the famous bronze balteus (belt) with battle scenes between Barbarian and Roman and the silver bust of Jupiter Dolichenus found at the Little St. Bernard Pass with other ritual objects. Public building works are depicted in a collection of prints with the main Aostan monuments, together with fragments of sculptures and frescoes, while everyday life is represented in table and cooking ornaments disposed in the reconstruction of a thermopolium (public place used to serve food and drinks). The roman section ends with the exhibition of personal ornaments and objects related to luxury and well-being.
The Christian-Medieval epoch is represented by the precious 8th-century pulpit found during excavations at Aosta Cathedral and some grave goods from the 4th to the 14th century, including gold decorated glasses and the knight’s sword coming from the Collegiate Church of Sant’Orso.
In the basement area of the Regional Archaeological Museum are conserved the remains of the south-eastern edge of the eastern tower of the Porta Principalis Sinistra, one of the four city gates of Augusta Praetoria, with the Roman levels and the only section of embankment, with the relative counterscarp, still resting on a part of the Roman walls.
The museum finally houses the prestigious “Pautasso” numismatic collection, with coins from the Greek era to the Savoy period. To notice the collection of Celtic, Gallic and Padanian coins.
The hall of the Carugo Collection exhibits findings of Etruscan civilization, of Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia.
A bookshop at the entrance sells the catalogues of all art exhibitions hosted over the years by the Ministry for Education and Culture of the Valle d’Aosta autonomous Region.References:
La Hougue Bie is a Neolithic ritual site which was in use around 3500 BC. Hougue is a Jèrriais/Norman language word meaning a \'mound\' and comes from the Old Norse word haugr. The site consists of 18.6m long passage chamber covered by a 12.2m high mound. The site was first excavated in 1925 by the Société Jersiaise. Fragments of twenty vase supports were found along with the scattered remains of at least eight individuals. Gravegoods, mostly pottery, were also present. At some time in the past, the site had evidently been entered and ransacked.
In Western Europe, it is one of the largest and best preserved passage graves and the most impressive and best preserved monument of Armorican Passage Grave group. Although they are termed \'passage graves\', they were ceremonial sites, whose function was more similar to churches or cathedrals, where burials were incidental.