Italy Prehistory – Neolithic

With the mitigated climate, with the disappearance of the Pleistocene fauna, extinct or transmigrated to give way to the current species, the Neolithic civilization is affirmed throughout Italy, characterized by the fixity of the dwelling, also built on purpose, by the smoothing of the stones, especially green ( jadeite, nephrite, chloromelanite, diorite, serpentine, porphyrite, etc.), from the regular practice of the inhumatory funeral rite, from the wide use of worked bone, from the development of ceramic art, agriculture alongside hunting and pastoralism, first textile industry. Against the assumptions of the past, now it is no longer believed that this civilization is the product of a great immigration of families from the East, but the result of a slow and gradual evolution. In western-central Europe, the hiatus that was previously admitted between the Paleolithic and Neolithic times is filled with transitional cultures (Azilian, Tardenoisian, Campignana, etc.): these successions are lacking in Italy, but the first germs of the new civilization can be seen in the environment itself. For example, the first attempts at ceramics (Caverna di Equi, in the Apuan Alps), found by other evidence collected in the European Upper Paleolithic (Belgium, France), harmonize with the presence of figured huts in the Franco-Cantabrian art of Solutréano -Magdaléniano, with the first polishing of stones in the Willendorf environment, with the same paleolithic constitution of the funeral rite accompanied by equipment and with the corpse in a crouched position; finally with the ascertainment of the deposits of green stones in our western Alps and in the Apennines, for which the idea of ​​the absolute importation of polished tools had to be repudiated. In addition to this, other links with the Pleistocene culture are: the continuation of the use of chipped flints, with the extensive use of spikes and lamellae and nuclei in Neolithic environments, and beyond, so much so that the distinction from the true Moustérian and Grimaldian types is sometimes uncertain, and above all the phenomenon of Paleolithic cultural persistence, which occurs widely in the Neolithic strata of Sicily, and in particular in the Lessini Mountains, on the Gargano, in certain localities of the Marche (Arceviese) and Umbria, and in the Vibrata Valley. In these places chipped tools similar to those of the gods were collected køkkenmødding  and the  French Campignien  (peaks,  tranchets ), so as to lead to the definition of a special civilization from Campania. that R. Battaglia tried to identify in time and space, while, according to the old idea of ​​Pigorini, it would be the transformation of the amygdalar industry, produced by the most primitive living tribes, isolated, set aside, in contact with the new civilizations .

Seriously opposed, especially due to the lack of stratigraphic support, the idea of ​​continuation, not only industrial, undeniable, but ethnic, is anything but repudiated, even if the demonstrative problem is serious.

First of all, the natural and geographical environments favor the idea, which is confirmed by the events of historical times (it is enough to remember the Ligurian cavemen fought by Rome); in the stations of the Lessini, which remained conservative until the last republican times of Rome, the instruments of the Campignano type are associated with rough Amygdalar and Solutréan shapes, and with polished stones and ceramics. Similarly occurs in the Arceviese, in the Vibrata Valley, and on the Gargano, where the very recent explorations of U. Rellini, F. Baumgaertel, R. Battaglia, confirm the belonging of the artifacts in question (for which Vaufrey proposed an indefinable  facies “Garganiana”) even at the full age of metals, as had been proven in the Arceviese. Future investigations will be able to demonstrate whether or not this Campania industry (or this “Garganiano”) was preceded by products more directly connected with amygdaloids, or if filling a gap, it should be considered in part almost a transitional layer, our own.

The Neolithic civilization, with its many industries, with its ways of dwelling (in huts, in natural caves, under rocky shelters), with its earthen sepulchres, in which the crouched position of the corpse also stands out, is spread by the circle alpine for the whole peninsula and the islands: foreign elements can already be seen flowing in, proof of the first land and sea trade, and also the first attestation of the attractive function that Italy will exercise above all in the following ages. But, although so widespread, its appearance is not uniform, and it is difficult to distinguish its oldest phase from the most recent one, above all due to the abundant superimposition of the layers belonging to the first age of metals, that is the Aeneolithic. An ancient Neolithic, was either short-lived or escapes research; a distinctive criterion from the final phase, more richly represented, was adopted by G. Chierici, L. Pigorini and P. Orsi, drawn from the lack or scarcity of fine or perfected lithic artefacts, such as the typical polished hatchets, perforated stones, acidic arrowheads. A fairly homogeneous group of rather archaic deposits can be assigned: the so-called Reggiano hut bottoms (Albinea, Rivaltella, Calerno, Campeggine) excavated by Chierici, other similar ones from Modenese and Bresciano and Mantovano, those of S. Biagio near Fano, Camerata on Lake Lèsina, some of the Vibrata Valley (v. Abruzzo) and Puglia, some stations in Trentino and some deposits of the Ligurian caves, the Cicchetti Cave in Materano and the Devil’s Cave at the end of the Salento peninsula . The settlements on the rock of Rumiano in Vayes (Val di Susa) and of Dos Trento (Trentino), the open-air station of Alba (Piedmont), which supplied a rich series of smooth stones, belong to a more recent, perhaps final phase. , the Ligurian caves of the Finalese (Arene Candide, Pollera, etc.) and those of the Carso, the inhabited areas of the Tremiti Islands and perhaps of Pantelleria, most of the hut villages of the Vibrata Valley, where for the first time the funds were discovered of hut by Concezio Rosa, and where the housing system lasted for a long time. The Neolithic of Sicily, represented by a homogeneous group of stations, among which Stentinello stands out in the Syracusan area (add: Matrensa, Tre Fontane, Poggio Rosso, Fontana di Pepe in the Catanese, Piano Notaro and S. Cono di Licodia Eubea), appears more recent of the peninsular,

Italy Prehistory - Neolithic