The Archaeology Collection, owned by Museo del Paesaggio – internationally well known since the end of the 19th century – is located in the separate Ornavasso building at the town hall and can be visited on appointment.
The collection’s most important section is its tomb accoutrements from Ornavasso, a town in the lower Ossola valley. Its over 1500 artefacts offer an insight into evolutions in a small Lepontii community, previously influenced by the Celts and subsequently gradually incorporated into the Roman world. The collection also contains:
- a Magna Graecia collection gathered by Don Secondo Falciola di Miazzina made up of a homogeneous nucleus of artefacts dating to the period from the 8th to the 4th centuries BC, attributable to the Daunian necropolises of Ascoli Satriano (Foggia);
- a collection brought here by Intra’s CAI club made up of two parts, a nucleus of objects from Verbania dating to the Roman era (1st to 4th centuries AD) and a collection of central Italian pottery whose forms enable the material to be attributed to the Falisci area, i.e. the extreme southern part of Etruria.
Lepontii and the Ornavasso necropolises
The most important section of the archaeology collection is the tomb accoutrements relating to the Ornavasso Lepontii community. The Lepontii people settled in the area of modern day Ossola and the Swiss side of Verbano and were part of the vast Golasecca cultural area, ancient traders between the Etruscans and the trans-Alpine Celtic communities.
In September 1890, when work on the Novara-Domodossola rail line was completely, archaeological finds were unearthed by chance in an area near Ornavasso near Oratorio di San Bernardo. Ornavasso scholar Enrico Bianchetti co-ordinated the excavations which also included the In Persona area, a little further north. Excavations lasted from 1890 to 1893 and unearthed two separate necropolises. The San Bernardo necropolis provided testimony to the oldest settlements in Ornavasso dating to the second half of the 2nd and the first half of the 1st centuries BC. The necropolis found in In Persona was a chronological continuation of the first and was used from the second half of the 1st century BC. Its tomb accoutrements comprise bronze and ceramic pots, work tools, coins, weapons, jewellery and clay unguentaria.