Vedere la Scienza Festival

XV International Scientific TV, Film and AV Media Festival

Milano   2/5/2011 - 8/5/2011

Spazio Oberdan, Viale Vittorio Veneto 2 - MILANO
Mediateca Santa Teresa, Via Moscova 28 - MILANO


Along the Devil’s Trail

  1. Author: Vanni Gandolfo, Massimo My
  2. Director: Vanni Gandolfo
  3. Scientific Advisor: Paolo Mietto
  4. Editor: Luca Onorati
  5. Photography: Diego d’Innocenzo
  6. Music: Rosario di Bella
  7. Sound: Micaela Della Siria
  8. Production: MYMAX Edutainment s.r.l.
  9. Italy
  10. 37 min.
  11. 2010

At Roccamonfina, a village in the province of Caserta located at the foot of an extinct volcano by the same name, people have always believed that the footprints still visible on the volcanic land belong to the Devil banned from Heaven. Who else but the devil could walk on hot lava unharmed? However, an accurate investigation has revealed them to be, in fact, the most ancient human footprints ever found, impressed into volcanic ashes rather than molten lava. The 56 prints have been dated as belonging to three individuals who lived 350,000 years ago. Another peculiarity of the footprints is that they are set in very steep terrain (about 80 degrees), which made it possible to discover the physical structure of their owners with the help of computer-based simulation. The individuals who left them were no taller than 1,5 m. The track show a number of sharp hairpin turns, as if the individuals had suddenly changed course while moving down the slope in order to negotiate a difficult passage. Other tracks seem to indicate that the individuals slipped and slided for over half a meter.
From this, scientists assume that the three individuals, frightened by an eruption, were trying to run from the volcano. The first eruption of the volcano in question took place approximately 600,000 years ago and again 385,000 years ago, and it lasted sixty years.
An article about that has been published by Mr. Mietto, scientific advisor for the documentary, in Nature.