The Cave of the White Sands (Arene Candide)

The Young Prince
The Young Prince

The cave of Arene Candide (or "Armassa" Cave) is an important archaeological cave site located on the upper edge of the former Ghigliazza quarries. Its name derives from a coastal dune of white sand (arena) once located at the foot of the cliffs of the Caprazzoppa promontory.

The international celebrity of the site derives from the excavations that took place between 1940 and 1950, which revealed 19 Palaeolithic burials (about 25 thousand years ago) where the richness of the funeral equipment placed next to the body of a teenager at the time of burial that will be called "Young Prince" stands out.

 It is a skeleton of a young man lying on his left side, in a red ochre bed. On the skull the diggers could see hundreds of small perforated shells, which were originally perhaps sewn onto a cap made of animal skin. Other bone and shell ornaments were found at the height of the knees, shoulder and left wrist. In his right hand he held a large flint blade (a real 25 cm knife). At chest height he also had four perforated sticks obtained from portions of elk horn decorated with thin lines engraved to represent a complete geometric design.

Two staffs are placed on the right side and two others on the opposite side.

The discoverers also noticed groupings of stones placed on the feet and hands. The young man, who presents a presumed height of 1.70 m, rather remarkable given the young age of about 15-16 years, has a dolicocephalous skull and a large wound in his jaw (part of which is completely missing) which was filled with yellow dye (limonite). 

The "Young Prince" is to be considered one of the most beautiful and complete tombs of the Upper Palaeolithic in Europe. The numerous finds from the excavations that are still active today are kept at the "Museo Archeologico del Finale" in Finalborgo. The cave is open to the public in summer with organized guided tours.