The Valley of Wonders, which is located in the town of Tende, is one of the largest sets of rock carvings in Europe. The two sites of Merveilles and Fontanalba, on both sides of Mount Bego, are located in high mountains and in the Mercantour National Park, which limits its access.
The Alpes-Maritimes Department has created the Musée des Merveilles to present this exceptional heritage to all.
The richness of the objects and documents presented, the realism of the characters put in scene, illustrate the life of the men of the age of the copper and the old bronze. Illustrated information of the historical life of their Tendasque descendants ends the visit.
Tools for the conservation, research and exhibition of archaeological heritage, the departmental Museum of Wonders and its website, are intended to be tools for the transmission of knowledge gathered by researchers.
The collections and educational presentations cover several areas.
The Museum of Wonders consists of an important series of archaeological objects. Of various materials and natures (weapons and tools in flint or metal, ceramics, stone or metal ornaments), these objects illustrate the evolution of civilizations from the Neolithic period (6,000 BC) to the end of the Iron Age (800 BC). They also shed light on the context in which the engravings were made by reflecting the daily lives of the pastoralists and farmers who came to Mount Bego from the coast and the Piedmont plain between 2200 and 1700 BC.
The ethnological part of the Musée des Merveilles is illustrated in large part by a selection of engraved objects from Roya Valley and the high Piedmontese valleys of Italy. The support of these engraved objects is the recurring patterns notched wood, made with a knife. Rouelles, rosettes, geometric, schematic or religious motifs, dates and initials compose this corpus, personalizing the object. The tools or utensils relating to agriculture, breeding or domestic work are thus frequently incised with figures imputing to the object a symbolic and prophylactic charge.
The Musée des Merveilles also presents, as concretely as possible, the natural history of Haute-Roya. The geography, geomorphology, geology, flora and fauna of the Southern Alps are discussed. These different aspects are developed in the museum through models (maps in relief, peat bog…), windows dedicated to geology, but also life-size reconstructions of the mountain environment (endemic plants, stuffed animals) called dioramas.