The Sant’ Angelo Caves, a surprising and spectacular journey into prehistory

Fascinating and majestic, they offer a breathtaking spectacle and represent an important testimony to the prehistoric age.  They are the caves of Sant’Angelo, a complex of karst origin, located near the center of Cassano all’Ionio, in the Province of Cosenza.  Calling our attention to them is, once again one of our fans, Angela Pagliaro, whom we thank for her cooperation.

The caves of Sant’Angelo are divided into three caverns: the Lower Cave of Sant’Angelo; The Upper Cave of Sant’Angelo and the Cave Above the Caves of Sant’Angelo, all connected by tunnels that stretch for a total of over 2,500 meters, considered the longest cavern in Calabria, having been baptized with this title by the Geological Magazine Sparviere.

In the depths of these tunnels, we are taken on a journey throughout history, 8,000 years ago, from the Neolithic period to the the metal age, up to the Greek colonization. The caves were inhabited for a long period by prehistoric man who left, as a concrete sign of his stay in these cavities, the oldest form of writing documented by experts of Italian Prehistory.

Another tangible sign of Neolithic man’s stay is the processing of obsidian (volcanic glass held by prehistoric populations, precious for its shine and rarity), used to form tools, sharp weapons, arrows and other objects. The research within the caves has unearthed various everyday ceramics, such as jugs, milk kettles, and filtering cups. Among the dowry objects, of great artistic value is a female figurine of figulina painted pottery, 5.5 cm tall, distinguishable body parts include: arms folded towards the belly, protruding buttocks, hair flowing over her shoulders with clear signs of paint on her face and chest paint that indicates the presence of jewelry.

Le grotte più grandi raggiungono una lunghezza di oltre un chilometro, e il loro sviluppo si svolge su vari livelli contrassegnati da numerosi corridoi, sale, aggregazioni calcaree d’immensa bellezza e spettacolari stallattiti e stalagmiti, alcune in fase di crescita, che segnano tutto il percorso, donando alle diverse zone colori unici, come pure pozzi e caditoie. Nella grotta denominata “ Pavolella, gli speleologi hanno attestato una frequentazione ad uso funerario, con un raro esempio di cremazione di età neolitica.

The largest caves reach a length of over one kilometer, and their development takes place on various levels marked by numerous corridors, salt, limestone aggregates of immense beauty and spectacular stalactites and stalagmites, some in the growth phase, which mark the path, giving unique colors to different areas, as well as pools and drains. In the cave called “Pavolella,” speleologists have revealed the caves were frequented for funerary use, with a rare example of cremation in the Neolithic period.  See the baffling and rare examples of underground vegetation that grows in the dark.  A journey into the heart of the earth, not to be missed.

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