The quest for the Greenstone
The main Greenstone outcrops are located in northeast Italy (Voltri group, Monviso area). The
green stone is the material chosen by the local population for the production of polished tools
(adzes, axes and bits) and ornaments (bracelets and pendants). The raw material was not available
in Alba; on the contrary eclogite, omphacite and serpentinite can be acquired in the beds of the river
Bormida of Spigno and Erro, the closest source of supply, shared with the populations of the
Ligurian coast.
The number and the features of the Alba artefacts – blocks of raw material (showcase 5/n. 1.1),
hammer stones (showcase 5/n. 1.2 e 1.3), drafts (showcase 5/ n. 1.4-1.5-1.6), production scraps
(showcase n. 5/n. 1.7-1.8-1.9), finished products (showcase n. 5/ n. 2-3-4-6) – suggest the
importance of this village as a seat of specialized craftmanship with the production of objects
destined to the trades or barters. The phases of the manufacturing are the selection of the raw
material, the chipping, in order to begin to shape the stone, a carving for an increasing level of
details of the surface and the corners, and finally the polishing.
The hatches (showcase n. 5/ n.7) – with the cutting edge parallel to the handle – and axes (showcase
n.5/n. 8) – with the cutting transverse edge – were very important in order to chop down trees and
carpentry of wood; some large dimensions tools – carved from precious rocks and entirely polished
– do not have any practical meaning but they only constitute a sign of the social high status
(showcase n.5/n.2.2).
Green stone axes in some different carving phases
Green stone chisel