Grotta di Carburangeli


Useful Information

Location: In Carini, near Palermo.
Via del Geranio, 2, 90044 Carini PA A29 Palermo-Trapani exit Carini, statale 113 towards Villagrazia di Carini, turn off onto via Carburangeli at km 286.
(38.167231, 13.161284)
Open: First Sun of month 9-14, 15-18.
All year daily after appointment.
[2021]
Fee: free(?).
[2021]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: helmet with lamp provided
Dimension: L=400 m, A=22 m asl.
Guided tours: D=60 min.
Photography:  
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:  
Address: RN "Grotta Carburangeli", Via del Geranio, 2, 90044 Carini PA, Tel: +39-091-867-6210. E-mail:
Legambiente CRI, via Agrigento, 67, 90141 Palermo (PA), Tel: +39-091-6262697, Fax: +39-091-6264139. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

1865 first archaeological excavation by G.G. Gemmellaro.
1996 Nature reserve created.
24-may-2008 Visitor Center of the “Grotta di Carburangeli” Nature Reserve inaugurated.
NOV-2010 fire damages visitor center.
MAR-2011 guided tours of the Carburangeli Cave Nature Reserve resumed.

Description

The Grotta di Carburangeli is said to be one of the most important caves of Sicily. It is a nice karst cave with speleothems but also an important archaeological site. The first excavation was made by G.G. Gemmellaro in 1865 and revealed terracotta shards from the Bronze Age. Palaeontological findings include bear (Ursus arctos), dwarf elephant (Elephas mnaidriensis), hyena (Crocuta crocuta spelaea), wolf (Canis lupus), boar (Sus scrofa), horse (Equus sp.), ox (Bos sp.), red deer (Cervus elaphus siciliae), and fallow deer (Dama dama). The bones are preserved and exhibited at the "GG Gemmellaro" Paleontology Museum of the University of Palermo. Also shells of gastropods like the Mediterranean limpet (Patella ferruginea and Patella cerulea), and the sea snails (Trochus turbinatus) were found. The archaeological excavations in the large entrance hall revealed human remains and tools from between the Paleolithic and the Bronze Age. The most spectacular were flint blades and arrowheads used for hunting and millstones made of basalt. Numerous lithic industries of both the Paleolithic and Neolithic ages were found. The bones and the snail shells are supposed to be the remains of meals. Quite exceptional is the charcoal drawing depicting a sorcerer (apotropaic figure) on the left wall of the first chamber. Depictions of humans are pretty rare and quite enigmatic. They are often called sorcerers because they have a staff or animal properties, which make some shamanic propitiation ceremony likely. Nevertheless, the meaning of the painting is still unknown.

The cave is home to a colony of Greater Mouse-eared Bat (Myotis myotis).

The site is a nature reserve and the cave is not developed as a show cave, but the passage is level. The tours require walking shoes and comfortable clothes, but no special equipment. A helmet with an electric lamp is provided. The tour must be reserved and is only possible with a guide.

A permanent exhibition "The cave of Carburangeli and the Castle of Carini: between myth, history and science" was opened in the Castle of Carini in 2016. If you are not able to visit the Carburangeli Cave Nature Reserve or have no appointment you can visit this exhibition without restrictions.