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Prehistoric age
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The tour includes the various phases of the long arc of time that it goes from the Neolitico to the beginnings of the age of the Iron:
It is the age of the new stone, meaning the polished stone that replaced the ancient flaked stone. During this time, a series of important innovations that changed human life took place. Man was transformed from a hunter and a gatherer into a farmer. These events, facilitated by the weather becoming more stable, began in the Near East during the 7th millennium and spread to the Mediterranean coast at the beginning of the 6th millennium BC.
The introduction of a production-based economy which favoured the development of animal and vegetable species, with all the related operational phases, led to a sedentary life style. Sites with suitable geological and topographical characteristics were chosen and the villages that were established were often surrounded by ditches to defend them from other groups of humans and wild beasts that could have damaged the property of the community.
Pottery was one of the important innovations of the Neolithic period and it is an important factor in cultural classification. As a matter of fact, the Neolithic’s chronological subdivision, spanning a 3,000 year time frame, is based on decorative techniques. Stone polishing, particularly the green stone originating from very far away, is also a Neolithic activity. This technique was employed to make ornamental objects as well as working implements such as hatchets used for woodworking or to clear patches chosen for agriculture or animal rearing.

The Copper Age, also named Chalcolithic or Eneolithic period (meaning the age of copper and stone) developed during the 3rd millennium BC and in the early centuries of the 2nd millennium BC, right after the Neolithic villages were abandoned, perhaps because of the arrival of people prospecting for metal.
It is a period known mainly because of its burial sites. As a matter of fact, the low population density settlements, maybe even temporary, were scattered throughout the territory and are not well known. They were situated on hills, on strategic positions along river valleys or ridge trails, which were particularly suitable for controlling the travel routes and carrying out the animal rearing work that complemented farming. The latter seems to have acquired new strength from the introduction of the animal driven plough which contributed to an increase in production. It also seems that the use of high altitude pastures might have played an important role in encouraging meetings and exchanges among peoples; meetings that are documented by objects found in places far from the production centres.
The use of copper was not widespread. Because it was scarce and hard to work with, it was employed for articles which had a high symbolic value. Their diminutive size proves that copper was expensive and hard to obtain. As a matter of fact, flint was still employed and its production reached high levels. Weapons (daggers and halberds) were among the items produced in the largest numbers, maybe in connection with the need for territorial defence but perhaps also because of the rise in the practice of war raids. The production of vases which were characterized by a great variety of geometrical decorative motifs, made using etching techniques or by the application of modelled elements was also very interesting.
The attitude towards death appears to have undergone profound changes as compared to the Neolithic Age. Indeed, communal burials became predominant. Members of the same family clan were interred with rich funereal paraphernalia in natural small caves or cavities dug for the purpose, the so called small “cave-like tombs”.

The Bronze Age coincides with the whole 2nd millennium BC. It is usually subdivided into four phases: early, middle, late and final, also known as proto-Apennine, Apennine and sub-Apennine phases. Each with their own peculiar characteristics, as far as the economic development and the production of artefacts are concerned.
The introduction of the plough, around the end of the 3rd millennium BC, had given a great boost to agriculture. Crops played the main role in the production of food, but it appears that they were integrated with other sources, probably because of the depletion of the much exploited farm land. In particular, animal rearing assumed a significant role for the production of meat and other derivatives such as milk and wool. Indeed, an increasing interest for settling in the hills, from where it was possible to exploit the fertile land of the valleys as well as the steep slopes for pasture was evident in this phase.
The processing of metal reached considerable levels. The evidence, in many settlements, of some kind of metal smelting, proves that numerous everyday objects, weapons and ornaments were produced. Loom weights and (spindle balancing beads), found in fairly good quantity indicate also that weaving was practiced in a consistent way.
The pottery is characterized by metal imitating dark or reddish mixtures of clay. The forms featured a carina and handles of unique shape. Large vessels, lids of boiling pots and strainers most likely used for processing milk were numerous as well.
As far as the funereal context is concerned, the small cave-like tombs were still employed, but the dolmen and dolmen-like graves began to appear for communal burials during the middle period.
The connections with the East are demonstrated by the presence of special artefacts like the beaded bone, of confirmed Anatolian origin, and by the discovery of Mycenaean pottery which, on the other hand, is absent inland.

Further information

Location: First floor
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