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Protohistoric settlement at the Bostel locality – Rotzo

Via Bostel, loc. Castelletto – 36010 Rotzo (VI)

The archaeological area of the Bostel at Rotzo is located at 850 metres above sea level, on a plateau naturally defended on its western side and in an position for controlling the surrounding territory. This area displays the remains of a hill settlement from the Iron age and the reconstruction of one of the partially underground houses recovered here.

History of research

The earliest excavations in the area of the Bostel date back to the last quarter of the XVIII century, when the abbot Dal Pozzo discovered in his lands six hundred underground houses. The researches continued during the XIX century thanks to scholars such as Lioy, De Stefani, Nalli e Paolo Orsi. In 1912 and again in 1969 new excavation campaigns were carried out by the General Direction for Archaeological Heritage in the Veneto region. Since 1993 the area has been investigated and excavated by the University of Padova.

Urban and geographical context

The plane of the Bostel is located at the western border of the plateau “Altipiano dei Sette Comuni”, at an altitude of about 850 metres above sea level. The area is naturally marked by the steep slopes that fall, about 500 metres below, south – towards the Assa stream, and west – towards the Astico, the second biggest river in the province of Vicenza.




The protohistoric settlement was located at 850 metres above sea level, on a naturally defended plane and in an excellent position for controlling the surrounding territory. For this reason, this site must have had a very important function in the second Iron age, since at that time the economy was mainly based on the exchange of pastoral and mining/metallurgical resources between the Prealps and the plain. The scholar Gianbattista Pellegrini believes that the toponym “Bostel” refers to the control function, since it would mean “the place where there used to be a castle, ruins of a castle".
Ruling out the sporadic use of this area between the XII and the X century B.C., of which there is no visible remain, the settlement was built around the end of the V century B.C. and lasted until the II century B.C., when it was destroyed by a fire.
It is estimated that the settlement was constituted by about 600 partially underground houses distributed on at least three main terraces with streets and internal divisions which indicate a complex village plan. The house were of alpine type: an excavation in the ground constituted the bottom part of the building and was further lined with dry stone walls. The upper part of the building was probably of the load-bearing type, with an external wooden structure filled in with soil and pebbles. Little is known about the upper part but the recovery, on the floor of the house, of some stone slabs suggests that they might have been the bases for the vertical poles that supported a sloping rooftop. The inside of the house was accessible through a partially underground corridor and consisted in a squared room, with clay or planks floor. Its functions were those of warehouse, cooking place and stable for the cattle.
Of this settlement today it is possible to see the remains of some houses and the experimental reconstruction of one of them, which is also the core of the archaeological itinerary at the Bostel. The experimental reconstruction is a house whose walls are made of tree trunks, whose ceiling is covered with straw and whose inside is divided in functional areas according to the daily needs of the time. At the entrance door, the lock is a copy of an original one from the Iron age, which was found during the archaeological excavations.


Admission: Negli orari di apertura
Su prenotazione

Visitability: Esterno e Interno

Ticket: No

School access
Upon reservation

Opening Times

Opening Days
Tipology When Specs
Summer Everyday 29 June – 13 September
Summer/Winter Sunday 1 March – 1 November

Recommended tour time (minutes): 100

Services for visitors

Rest points
Wooden house also used as pic-nic area

Wooden house with bar

Educational Services

Information boards

Guided Tours
Guided tours by the society "Archeidos", tel. 0424 691100 / 0444 594317,

Educational activities
Teaching activities by the society"Archeidos", tel. 0424 691100 / 0444 594317,

Educational workshops
Society "Archeidos", tel. 0424 691100 / 0444 594317,

Library and documentation centre


Lioy P. 1881, Rotzo, avanzi di costruzioni e tombe scoperti nella contrada Bostel, in Notizie degli Scavi, pp. 154-158.
Leonardi G., Ruta Serafini A. 1981, L’abitato protostorico di Rotzo, in Preistoria Alpina, 17, pp. 7-75.
Ruta Serafini A. 1984, Gli abitati di altura tra l’Adige e il Brenta, in Il Veneto nell’antichità. Preistoria e Protostoria, II, a cura di Aspes A., Verona, pp. 771-772.
Bonetto J. 2009, Veneto (Archeologia delle Regioni d’Italia), Roma, pp. 471-472.

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