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Uncategorized: Botanology
The chestnut tree in a painting by Jean-Pierre Houël (c.1777).
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by Archaeology Newsroom

The tree that grew old beneath Mount Etna

A remarkable tree for its size and age

This tree is known as the Chestnut Tree of One Hundred Horses and has survived countless calamities. Legend has it that during the beginning of the previous millennium a queen together with her retinue of 100 horsemen, sought and found refuge from a sudden storm in the trunk of the chestnut tree during a visit to Etna.

In agreement with legend, botanologists assess that the tree is 3000 years old. If their calculations are correct it is the most ancient wild chestnut tree in the world, growing at the foot of the Etna volcano in Sicily near the village Sant’Alfio. In 1872, a traveller to mount Etna measured the circumference of the tree trunk and according to his reckoning it was 56 metres wide. If, therefore this tree is aged 3000 years old , the Sicilian chestnut tree must have sprung up at a time before the first immigrants arrived from Greece.