Avigliano Umbro

The Botanic Palaeontology Centre of the Fossil Forest in Dunarobba

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Tourist information and welcome office
Piazza Augusto Vera - 05022 Amelia

The Botanic Palaeontology Centre has been set up at the end of 1990s to support the research and study activity on the Fossil Forest in Dunarobba, by reconstructing its geological and climatic features but also its wildlife through findings, explanatory panels and scale models. 

The Fossil Forest came to light at the end of 1970s, inside a clay quarry intended for the production of common bricks. The currently visible remnants of about 50 giants coniferous' logs represent an exceptional and rare example of some types of plants featuring this sector of the Italian peninsula during the period of time between 3 and 2 millions of years ago, that is in the geological period known as Pliocene.

This ancient forest, much of it still buried by the sediment, indicates environmental conditions that are significantly different from the current ones, characterised by a substantially warmer climate.

The maintenance of alive logs and the almost entirely preservation of the original wood's features, are reasonably ascribable to a continuous and gradual burial happened inside a marshy area placed on the shores of a wide lake. Furthermore the area was subject to a gradual sinking, that is to the geological phenomenon known as subsidence. The peculiar features of this palaeontological site make it a natural monument unique in the world and of significant scientific relevance.

The Superintendence for Archaeological Heritage of Umbria, in the years following this discovery, started a long documentation work aimed at studying, protecting and preserving the palaeontological site.

Currently the biggest efforts are aimed at fighting the decomposition of wood due to atmospheric agents, the main cause of its degradation. 

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