Italy Prehistory

Stratigraphic excavations, rigorous revisions and the comparative study of Italian cultures with Mediterranean and European ones have brought great progress in the knowledge of prehistoric Italy. The picture that can be traced today also often differs in basic lines from that set out in the aforementioned item.

Lower Paleolithic. – The study of the relationships between human cultures and fluvial terraces or Quaternary shore lines has shown the very long duration of the Lower Paleolithic, of which new facies have been identified, especially in the sliver industries (Clactonian, Tayacian, etc.). A more exact evaluation of the significance of the Italian stations of this age follows.

Clactonian industry has been recognized in the Observatory Grotto (Principality of Monaco) and in the Valchetta Cartoni (Rome); amygdalian industry in Quinzano (Verona), in the floods of the Tiber etc. The Loretello di Venosa field has been recognized as belonging to the Tayaciano, in which this industry, as in Palestine (Monte Carmelo), in Syria (Jabrud) and in European Russia (Kük Koba), is below an upper Acheulean level (Micocchiano).

Middle Paleolithic. – The panorama of the Italian Mousterian has been extraordinarily enriched and its different facies and relations with the variations in climate and sea level have been better specified. At Balzi Rossi the excavations of the Barma Grande (L. Cardini) have revealed coarse Levalloisian splinters among the pebbles of the Tyrrhenian beach in strombus just emerged, and above Mousterian layers of which the lower ones with much coarser industry and warm fauna (hippopotamus, ancient elephant), the superiors belonging to the classical Mousterian with cold fauna (reindeer, marmot).

Research conducted by AC Blanc along the coasts of Versilia, Lazio and Salernitano have led to the identification of a long series of Mousterian and upper Paleolithic deposits in the beach dune formations and coastal caves whose formation could be linked to the variations undergone by the line of shore during the regression that follows the Tyrrhenian transgression (confirming the data of the Balzi Rossi), and also the variations in the climate attested by the formation of the land, the faunas and above all the flora. Based on these observations, the Mousterian, which directly overlaps the beaches at strombus, therefore appears to have begun in Italy with the regression that follows the Tyrrhenian transgression (of which these beaches are testimony) and to have continued also in the subsequent Versilian transgressive period, up to at least the second of the three probable cold fluctuations of the last glacial period. Graziosi is responsible for the location of the Mousterian industry in the average between the three terraces of the Panaro, the Samoggia and other rivers of Emilia.

According to TRAVELATIONARY, the stations of Lessini, Quinzano (Verona), Amiata, Cetona (Tomb of S. Francesco, Grotta di Gosto), Perugia (Il Pino), Materano (Scalaferri etc.). To the alpine variety, characterized above all by the presence of bones of Ursus spelaeus, broken in the characteristic buttonhole way (see Equi, Pocala), those of Grotta all’Onda (Lucca).

In the caves of Circeo (Grotte Guattari and del Fossellone) and in the nearby localities of Agro Pontino, Blanc identified a particular facies obtained from small beach pebbles (Pontiniana), which appears not unlike in Scalea and Bisceglie (Grotta S. Croce). For the knowledge of Mousterian man, the two human skulls of Saccopastore attributed by AC Blanc to the interglacial Riss-Würm and therefore considered much older than a third skull, with more distinctly Neanderthal characters, found by Blanc himself in the Grotto are of fundamental interest. Guattari al Circeo, with Pontiniana industry.

It is evident that also the Mousterian, due to the variations of marine levels and the climate of which it was a spectator, due to the diversity of its industrial facies and also of the human races that were bearers of it, must have had a very long duration.

Italy Prehistory

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