History of Museum

history of the Priabona's museum

The Priabona fossil Museum was inaugurated in 1990, with a single room named after Ernest Munier-Chalmas and Albert De Lapparent, the two French geologists who proposed institution of the Priabonian Stratotype in 1893.

This simple museum offered the visitor a clear overview of the geo-paleontological events characterizing the period running from the end of the Cretaceous to the Miocene (from 65 to 10 million years ago).

A further room, named after the naturalist Aldo Allegranzi, was added in 2004. This room displays the changes and transformations undergone by the territory during a space of time much closer to the present – the ice age. The few but important exhibits, complemented by illustrative panels, give an overview of the Quaternary, which has recently been reclassified as an epoch in the Tertiary period and runs from 2.6 million years ago to the present day.

Two years later the room named after Dr Andrea Rigoni was inaugurated. Colourful illustrations and splendid exhibits describe the local environment during the Oligocene (from 36 to 24 million years ago). Professor Andrea Tintori, Paolo Gentile and Lucia Lops of Milan State University closely examined numerous examples of fish teeth and other fossils such as corals, algae, sponges, rudists etc., which had mostly been collected in the surrounding area. This research enabled the scientists to identify the species and hence the environment in which they lived: a tropical sea, with clear, shallow water scattered with volcanic islands around which algae and corals built reefs and atolls. Crustaceans, molluscs and many varieties of fish in all shapes, sizes and colours lived and found refuge in this habitat, which was occasionally visited by splendid specimens of shark.