Fossilia - Fossil museum in Meltina South Tyrol
An excursion into the past
Mölten/Meltina sandstone has long had both cultural and historical significance as a building material and decorative stone for churches and chapels. Thus, in the 1980s, broken originals from the spire of Bozen/Bolzano Cathedral were replaced with sandstone from Mölten/Meltina, with quarrying restarted there for this purpose, which revealed previously hidden rock strata.
Franz Josef Karnutsch, the mayor at that time and himself a passionate collector of minerals, was a repeated visitor to the quarry, where he discovered the fossils. Following investigations carried out there with Karl Krainer and Helfried Mostler, geologists from the University of Innsbruck, the new-found treasures were quickly classified as fossils formed around 260 million years ago during the Upper Permian period.
Franz Josef Karnutsch wanted to make the finds accessible to the general public and initiated the construction of Mölten/Meltina’s first fossil exhibition, opened under his successor in 2001. In 2017, the municipality of Mölten/Meltina decided to convert the now aging wooden structure into a permanent institution with a revitalisation concept for the museum and its exhibits. The result was the current exhibition, “Fossilia”, which opened in 2023.