The Archaeological Museum
The Archaeological Museum of Orentano documents the history of the northern area of the municipal territory of Castelfranco di Sotto, on the slope of Cerbaie facing the ancient lake of Bientina and the plain of Lucca, through original artifacts (stone tools, ceramics, metals, coins and wooden objects), plastic reconstructions and educational panels.
The section dedicated to prehistory exhibits a selection of chipped stone tools from the temporary encampments of groups of hunters and gatherers who frequented the heights of Cerbaie between the Lower and Upper Palaeolithic. Of particular interest are some rare examples of chopping tools and bifaces.
The first stable settlements are documented for the Bronze Age and are preferably located in the plain, near water courses where they could carry out agricultural and breeding activities. Just from one of these small villages comes the burial of an adult woman, datable to 1200 B.C.. Of remarkable interest for the area is the Bronze Age hut recently excavated in the locality of I Cavi that has allowed its reconstruction in scale.
The Etruscan period is illustrated by the numerous finds from the village of Ponte Gini, excavated between 1983 and 1986: bronze and glass paste jewels, coins and tools, wine amphorae and fine tableware together with examples of incineration tombs with clavicles and grave goods.
Of particular interest for the rarity of the find are the remains of the Roman wooden bridge discovered in the plain of Orentano in 1989 and illustrated here by a plastic reconstruction. From this excavation come ceramics, jewels, weapons, iron tools, rare agricultural and carpentry tools (some of which still have their wooden handles), coins and metal parts of vehicles and equestrian trappings. Of particular interest is the wide variety of lead net weights that document the ancient fishing activity.
A further archaeological element of notable rarity, at least at our latitudes, is the monossil canoe in oak from the medieval age that documents the techniques of navigation of ancient origin of the waters of the ancient lake of Bientina.
The museum tour ends with the exhibition of a small group of coins of Lucca and Pisa of the thirteenth century, found near a river port of call on the slopes of the hill of the castle of Orentano.
The museum continuously carries out didactic activities addressed to the schools of the territory and also of divulgation for adults with meetings, conferences and exhibitions.