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A Gönnersdorf-style engraving in the parietal art of Grotta Romanelli (Apulia, southern Italy)

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Abstract and Figures

Gönnersdorf-style figurines and silhouettes are well known at over 40 sites in western and central Europe and are found in association with Magdalenian or Azilian lithic industries. We describe an engraving of this type discovered at Grotta Romanelli in south-western Italy, in association with a Romanellian industry, a local facies of the Italian Late Epigravettian. This find considerably extends the known geographical distribution of Gönnersdorf-type figures.
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Mitteilungen der Gesellschaft für Urgeschichte — 17 (2008) 97
A Gönnersdorf-style engraving in the parietal art
of Grotta Romanelli (Apulia, southern Italy)
Margherita Mussi1 and Alessandro De Marco2
1Dipartimento di Scienze dell’Antichità
Università di Roma ”La Sapienza”
Via Palestro 63, 00185 Roma, Italia
margherita.mussi@uniroma1.it
2Cooperativa S.T.S.
Via Marsala 100, 73042, Casarano (LE), Italia
alex.de.marco@libero.it
Abstract: Gönnersdorf-style figurines and silhouettes are well known at over 40 sites in western and
central Europe and are found in association with Magdalenian or Azilian lithic industries. We describe
an engraving of this type discovered at Grotta Romanelli in south-western Italy, in association with a
Romanellian industry, a local facies of the Italian Late Epigravettian. This find considerably extends the
known geographical distribution of Gönnersdorf-type figures.
Keywords: Italy, Late Paleolithic, Romanellian, Parietal art, Engraving
Eine Figur des Typs Gönnersdorf in der Wandkunst der Grotta Romanelli
(Apulien, Süditalien)
Zusammenfassung: Die Grotta Romanelli im südlichen Apulien wurde bereits 1900 als archäologische
Fundstelle entdeckt und bis in die zweite Hälfte des 20. Jhs. hinein in zahlreichen Grabungskampagnen
untersucht. Früheste Hinweise auf die Anwesenheit von Menschen gehören in das Mittelpaläolithikum.
Auf eine stratigraphische Lücke folgen dann wesentlich jüngere Ablagerungen mit einer nach der Grotta
Romanelli als Romanellien bezeichneten spätpaläolithischen Industrie, einer lokalen Ausprägung des
späten italienischen Epigravettien. Unkalibrierte Daten geben für diese Schichten ein Alter zwischen
etwa 9.000 und 12.000 vor heute, das entspricht einem Alter zwischen etwa 10.000 und knapp 15.000 vor
heute in kalibrierten Daten. Dabei liegen die meisten der kalibrierten Daten bei einfacher Standardab-
weichung innerhalb eines Zeitintervalles zwischen 11.200 und 13.500 vor heute.
Bei den älteren Ausgrabungen wurden mehrfach Kalksteinblöcke und -platten mit sowohl figürlichen
und schematischen als auch abstrakten Darstellungen gefunden. Darüber hinaus fanden sich an meh-
reren Stellen Gravuren an den Höhlenwänden, die z.T noch unpubliziert sind. Unter den Wanddar-
stellungen im Inneren der Höhle wurde eine nur etwa 2 cm hohe eingravierte Darstellung identifiziert,
die wahrscheinlich den Umriss einer stilisierten Frauenfigur des Typs Gönnersdorf darstellt und die
im vorliegenden Beitrag beschrieben wird. Erkennbar sind der Oberkörper, die Gesäßpartie und die
Beine. Vergleichbare Darstellungen kennt man sowohl in der Wandkunst als auch in der Kleinkunst von
inzwischen mehr als 40 jung- bis spätpaläolithischen Fundstellen vor allem in Mittel- und Westeuropa.
Herausragend ist dabei der Namen gebende Fundplatz Gönnersdorf am Mittelrhein mit mehr als 400
Darstellungen. In der Wandkunst waren Figuren des Typs Gönnersdorf bisher auf Westeuropa westlich
der Rhône beschränkt. Der Fund in der Grotta Romanelli würde damit die bisher bekannte geogra-
phische Verbreitung dieses Typs beträchtlich erweitern.
Schlagwörter: Italien, Spätpaläolithikum, Romanellien, Wandkunst, Gravur
98
Fig. 1: A Grotta Romanelli seen from the sea (after Blanc 1930). B The entrance of Grotta Romanelli, seen
from the inside of the cave (photo M. Mussi). The Gönnersdorf-style silhouette was discovered in the dark
area on the left, while the deeply engraved freeze is in full light, on the ceiling just beyond the grate.
Margherita Mussi and Alessandro De Marco
99
Introduction
Grotta Romanelli is located in southern Apulia at 40°N, at a few meters above sea
level on a limestone cliff facing the southern Adriatic Sea (Fig. 1A). The archaeological
site was discovered in 1900 by Paolo Emilio Stasi (1840-1922), a local scholar, who star-
ted digging there with Ettore Regalia, a palaeontologist. Major excavations were directed
from 1914 to 1938 by Gian Alberto Blanc, who introduced a modern interdisciplinary
approach and published the results in some detail (Blanc 1920, 1930). Later, during the
second half of the century, Luigi Cardini also directed several digging seasons.
Overlying a basal Tyrrhenian beach deposit of last interglacial age, the stratigra-
phic sequence includes two distinct deposits: the lower terre rosse (“red earth”), which
produced remains of pachyderms and Middle Palaeolithic tools (Piperno 1974; Spina-
police 2008); and, after a stratigraphic gap, the upper terre brune, (“brown earth”), of
much later age, with abundant Late Palaeolithic industry, the so-called Romanellian.
The Romanellian, which includes small-sized endscrapers, burins, points with bilateral
retouch, and backed elements, has been discovered at a few more sites of Apulia, where
the later Epiromanellian also developed (Mussi 2001). This industry is a regional facies
of the Italian late Epigravettian, only found in a restricted area, in the southwest of the
peninsula. In the past, industries including many small endscrapers and backed tools,
from elsewhere in southern Europe, were improperly also labelled as Romanellian. The
rich faunal assemblage is dominated by wild ass, aurochs, and red deer, but other ani-
mals, such as red fox and birds, were also intensely exploited (Cassoli et al. 1997, 2003;
Compagnoni et al. 1997; Fiore 2003; Fiore et al. 2003; Tagliacozzo 2003).
The terre brune layers are subdivided into layers E-A, from bottom to top. They were
radiocarbon-dated in the 1960s, at an early stage of the development of this dating
technique, both at Rome and at Groningen. The results are to some extent contrasting
(Table 1) (Bella et al. 1958-1961; Vogel and Waterbolk 1963; Alessio et al. 1964, 1965).
There is little doubt, however, that within the overall range of 10,000-15,000 cal BP,
most of the dates cluster between 11,200 and 13,500 cal BP.
Level Laboratory Conventional
Date BP
Calibrated
Date BP 68% range calBP
A R-54 9,050 ± 100 10,174 ± 169 10,005 – 10,343
A GrN-2056 9,880 ± 100 11,401 ± 162 11,239 – 11,563
A GrN-2305 10,320 ± 130 12,155 ± 30 11,852 – 12,457
A R-58 11,800 ± 600 14,057 ± 844 13,213 – 14,901
B R-56 11,930 ± 520 14,179 ± 759 13,419 – 14,938
C GrN-2154 9,790 ± 80 11,203 ± 72 11,130 – 11,275
C GrN-2153 10,390 ± 80 12,310 ± 198 12,111 – 12,508
D GrN-2055 10,640 ± 100 12,556 ± 157 12,399 – 12,713
Table 1: The 14C dates of Grotta Romanelli. Calibration made using the curve CalPal2007_HULU at
http://www.calpal-online.de. Dates are arranged in a conventional way within each level, except for R-54
which is the nearest to the surface of the deposit.
A Gönnersdorf-style engraving in the parietal art of Grotta Romanelli
100
Engraved limestone blocks and slabs were discovered, mostly at the base of level C,
with both schematic and naturalistic engravings (most notably bovids, a doe, a small
felid, and a possible wild boar) (Blanc 1930; Graziosi 1932-33; Acanfora 1967). A block,
with rows of arch-shaped patterns painted in red, was also found in levels B-C.
A number of deeply engraved motifs at a larger scale, forming a kind of frieze, were
recognized at the cave mouth and in full light, some meters above modern ground-level
(Blanc 1930). They include linear and fusiform patterns, some of which could be vulvas
and anthropomorphs, as well as a schematic bovid (Fig. 2). According to Blanc (1930,
410, table XLI), a few of the engraved blocks of level C had broken off the ceiling. Panels
with fine engravings also exist inside the cave, but were never described or illustrated.
We discuss below one of the inner engravings that we recognized as a Gönnersdorf-type
silhouette.
Fig. 2: Two different groups of deep engravings, in full light at the mouth of Grotta Romanelli (after Blanc
1930).
The Gönnersdorf-style engraving
An engraved panel can be seen inside the cave just above modern ground-level, i.e.,
above the artificial level left after excavating the Terre brune. During our research, it
was not possible to test if the Terre brune had been thoroughly excavated in this part of
the cave. The panel is in a dark area, rarely if ever reached by direct sunlight, on the left
when looking toward the entrance from within (Fig. 1B). It includes naturalistic bovids
and schematic patterns, that have yet to be deciphered.
To the left and above a bovid figure, a small anthropomorphic silhouette, 2cm in
length, was discovered (Fig. 3). The upper part is damaged by lichen growth, while the
lower part is sharply engraved and well preserved. It is a right profile, which makes par-
tial use of an oblique fissure in the wall to outline the upper back. The anterior part of
the trunk is also suggested by a natural pattern of the rock, while the lower body is care-
fully engraved. Overall, it is symmetric, with an upper body oriented forward, protruding
Margherita Mussi and Alessandro De Marco
101
Fig. 3: The Gönnersdorf-style silhouette discovered inside Grotta Romanelli (photo F. Pino). Maximum
length 2 cm.
A Gönnersdorf-style engraving in the parietal art of Grotta Romanelli
102
buttocks, and legs directed forward, mirroring the thorax. The head is possibly evidenced
by the slightly more vertical posture of the upper thorax, but this is not certain due to
poor preservation. The thorax or head is left open at the top. An elongated breast is pos-
sibly suggested by a natural depression, without any artificial modification. There is no
evidence of an arm. On the lower rear, a rounded buttock is accurately engraved. A fold
divides the latter from the united thigh and calf, ending in a point. The abdomen is flat.
Concluding remarks
The silhouette discovered at Grotta Romanelli fits well within one of the variants of
the Gönnersdorf or Gönnersdorf-Lalinde-style (Bosinski 1991; Delporte 1993; Bosinski
and Schiller 1998; Bosinski et al. 2001). The closest analogies are to engravings discov-
ered at sites in south-western France, such as Lalinde, Le Courbet, Fontalès, Pestillac:
the upper part is left open, the lower one is pointed, there are no arms, and in some
examples the breasts are outlined. Although engraved, the Romanelli silhouette is also
similar to some statuettes, notably the figurine from Le Courbet. The new discovery
strengthens the hypothesis made by Mussi and Zampetti (1988), who suggested that
some of the anthropomorphic engravings at the mouth of the cave, which are rather
large, over 20cm in height, also recalled the Gönnersdorf style (Fig. 2).
Altogether, Gönnersdorf-style female representations have been discovered at over
40 Magdalenian or, less frequently, Azilian sites, as portable as well as parietal art, as
single representations or as multiple ones, with more than 400 examples known from
the eponymous site (Fig. 4). The geographic distribution encompasses most of western
and central Europe, from Cantabria to Moravia and Poland; however parietal art was
restricted, up until now, to an area west of the Rhône Valley. Variants of the type are
also known in the Ukraine, at Mezin and Mežirič – sites which are earlier than those in
central and eastern Europe. Gönnersdorf-style female representations had not been pre-
viously reported in Italy at any Lateglacial site, in association with Late Epigravettian
industry. Grotta Romanelli, with a Romanellian lithic industry, considerably expands
the previously known distribution beyond the area of the Magdalenian and Azilian sites.
Furthermore, while a figurine, if found in southern Italy, could well have been the out-
come of hand-to-hand exchanges, the silhouette must have been engraved on the cave
wall by an artist who had seen similar ones at a distant location. This suggests people
freely moving over long distances, beyond both geographical boundaries and boundaries
established on the basis of the modern classification of lithic tools.
Acknowledgements
The permit to visit Grotta Romanelli and study the engraving was granted by Soprin-
tendenza archeologica della Puglia, and we are specially grateful to Dr. Maria Antoni-
etta Gorgoglione for the assistance given. The research of MM was funded by a grant
MIUR – Ricerca scientifica (Facoltà di Lettere - Università di Roma ”La Sapienza”). The
pictures were graphically processed by Filiberto Scarpelli (Laboratorio di Paletnologia,
Dipartimento di Scienze dell’Antichità, Università di Roma ”La Sapienza”). During the
first visit to Grotta Romanelli we were greatly helped by Paul Bahn and Nadine Rhodes,
who accompanied us. ADM was in charge of the local documentation, and MM of the
overall research.
Margherita Mussi and Alessandro De Marco
103
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Margherita Mussi and Alessandro De Marco
... Cave art Graziosi (1932Graziosi ( , 1933; Ciccarese (2000); Bugli et al. (2003); Mussi and De Marco (2008); Spinapolice (2008); Sigari (2018); Spinapolice (2018) Dating Bella et al. (1958); Alessio et al. (1964Alessio et al. ( , 1965; Fornaca-Rinaldi (1968a, 1968b; Fornaca-Rinaldi and Radmilli (1968); Calcagnile et al. (2019) However, most of the geological heritage of the Salento area is underexploited by local tourism (Margiotta and Sansò 2014;Sansò et al. 2015). According to Margiotta and Sansò (2014) and Sansò et al. (2015), the identification of geosites could be the basis for the building of a cultural attraction to promote tourism in this region. ...
... The fossil samples were dated in the laboratory of the BSapienza University in Rome^ (Bella et al. 1958;Alessio et al. 1964Alessio et al. , 1965, while Vogel and Waterbolk (1963) obtained five C 14 dates on charcoal (Table 3). Recently, Mussi and De Marco (2008) recalibrated these dates between 10,174 ± 169 cal years BP and 14,179 ± 759 cal years BP, using the CalPal2007_HULU curve. Recently, the age of the Bterre brune^has been reassessed using the accelerator mass spectrometry radiocarbon (AMS 14 C) dating techniques (Calcagnile et al. 2019). ...
... The lithic industry unearthed within the Bterre brune^layers (A-E) is very rich, including about 10,000 recovered artefacts, with a strong concentration of around 5800 samples in layer C. The tools include small Fig. 3 Stratigraphy of the Grotta Romanelli infilling deposits (from Blanc 1928). The original lettering of the infilling deposits is reported (Blanc 1920) endscrapers, burins, finely retouched points on a blade, and a bladelet, or flake (Mussi and De Marco 2008). Only 200 tools have been recovered from level E. The lithic sample includes small endscrapers, burins and many backed truncated artefacts. ...
... Cave art Graziosi (1932Graziosi ( , 1933; Ciccarese (2000); Bugli et al. (2003); Mussi and De Marco (2008); Spinapolice (2008); Sigari (2018); Spinapolice (2018) Dating Bella et al. (1958); Alessio et al. (1964Alessio et al. ( , 1965; Fornaca-Rinaldi (1968a, 1968b; Fornaca-Rinaldi and Radmilli (1968); Calcagnile et al. (2019) However, most of the geological heritage of the Salento area is underexploited by local tourism (Margiotta and Sansò 2014;Sansò et al. 2015). According to Margiotta and Sansò (2014) and Sansò et al. (2015), the identification of geosites could be the basis for the building of a cultural attraction to promote tourism in this region. ...
... The fossil samples were dated in the laboratory of the BSapienza University in Rome^ (Bella et al. 1958;Alessio et al. 1964Alessio et al. , 1965, while Vogel and Waterbolk (1963) obtained five C 14 dates on charcoal (Table 3). Recently, Mussi and De Marco (2008) recalibrated these dates between 10,174 ± 169 cal years BP and 14,179 ± 759 cal years BP, using the CalPal2007_HULU curve. Recently, the age of the Bterre brune^has been reassessed using the accelerator mass spectrometry radiocarbon (AMS 14 C) dating techniques (Calcagnile et al. 2019). ...
... The lithic industry unearthed within the Bterre brune^layers (A-E) is very rich, including about 10,000 recovered artefacts, with a strong concentration of around 5800 samples in layer C. The tools include small Fig. 3 Stratigraphy of the Grotta Romanelli infilling deposits (from Blanc 1928). The original lettering of the infilling deposits is reported (Blanc 1920) endscrapers, burins, finely retouched points on a blade, and a bladelet, or flake (Mussi and De Marco 2008). Only 200 tools have been recovered from level E. The lithic sample includes small endscrapers, burins and many backed truncated artefacts. ...
Article
Caves as geosites structurally illustrate the strict dependence of human occupation on geological and geomorphological processes, playing a crucial role in the development of human civilisation. Grotta Romanelli embodies such a kind of geosite, being a coastal cave occupied by humans since the Middle Pleistocene and considered a symbol of the Palaeolithic period in Europe. Research on the cave, derived from the excavation activities carried out last century, consisted of a well-documented stratigraphic framework, abundant fossil remains and archaeological findings which included tools and rock art. The excavation activities stopped for about 40 years, hampering any new research on the cave. In 2015, new fieldwork was initiated and the multidisciplinary team immediately had to face several conservation issues linked to natural processes (erosion, degradation of the walls due to biodeteriogens) and human activities (mainly legal and illegal excavations). The use of 3D technologies to document the different phases of the research, from the field work to the digital reconstruction of fossil remains, has been extensively applied and represents an attempt to solve the issues of accessibility, education and sharing the heritage, which should be further implemented in the future.
... Bosinski et al., 2001;Bosinski, 2011aBosinski, , 2011bRios-Garaizar et al., 2015), may not be as clear as is usually assumed. This is more problematic when unambiguous 'Gönnersdorf-type' anthropomorphic depictions are otherwise not present at such sites where similar examples have been said to exist (e. g., Pettitt, 2007;Mussi and De Marco, 2008). ...
... The south-west of Europe provides, on one hand, numerous Late Pleistocene sites that are listed as possessing headless anthropomorphic depictions (Duhard, 1993), most of which have been assigned to the 'Gönnersdorf-type' (Fig. 5; cf. Bosinski et al., 2001;Bosinski, 2011aBosinski, , 2011bDuhard, 1993;Ladier et al., 2005;Mussi and De Marco, 2008;Rios-Garaizar et al., 2015;Sentis, 2005). On the other hand have most of these sites produced far fewer depictions than are known from central Europe, and many of the specimens discussed do not convincingly represent anthropomorphs. ...
... Similarly, Foz do Medal introduces more than 1500 fragments of Gravettian, Solutrean and Magdalenian contexts with figurative depictions incised in slate and greywacke (Soares de Figueiredo et al., 2020: 65). The Gonnersdorf collection of the engraved slate stones is noticeable due to the specific style of depictions spread across Central and even Southern (Mussi and de Marco, 2008) Europe. However, the portable stones from Kamyana Mohyla have the biggest similarity with the collections containing slate or sandstone and engraved by scratching their surface (i.e. ...
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The complex of Kamyana Mohyla is the westernmost rock art location of the Eurasian Steppe and the largest accumulation of cave art sites in the Eastern Europe. So far it has been believed that the complex contains the Upper Paleolithic cave art images as well as portable art collection that resemble the instances of Upper Paleolithic worldview. Though this belief lacked the support of archaeological context and chronological attribution it remained neither proved nor disputed. However, the application of digital photogrammetric tools allowed to perform the sub-millimeter surface modeling of the rock art objects and to re-examine and reconsider the engravings that were previously attributed to Pleistocene. The modeling results presented in this article revealed the complete absence of figurative images for the collection of portable art specimens and the dubious character of those for the cave art one. Therefore, the whole collection should be reconsidered, studied and attributed according to the state of the art and contemporary archaeological record in the region. This contribution attempts to think over the possible Upper Paleolithic origin of the motifs from Kamyana Mohyla in the light of new data and proposes three hypotheses towards the understanding of the rock art assemblage from one of the caves in the complex.
... Nonostante tali confronti con la Penisola iberica, non è comunque possibile fornire una datazione certa alla pittura schematica di Sezze, soprattutto perché questa non è associata a materiali archeologici. É opportuno sottolineare che pitture rupestri schematiche sono comunque presenti nella nostra penisola già a partire da momenti abbastanza antichi della preistoria (Aziliano), come visibile dai dipinti schematici di Grotta Romanelli (BATTAGLIA 1935;STELLA 1937;BLANC 1938BLANC , 1940FREDIANI, MARTINI 2003;MUSSI, DE MARCO 2008); anche sulla base di quest'ultima considerazione, l'attestazione artistica dell'Arnalo dei Bufali, potrebbe ricadere in un ampio arco cronologico, compreso tra Paleolitico Superiore ed Eneolitico. ...
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Il presente lavoro vuole riassumere le evidenze artistiche preistoriche già note nei Monti Lepini, per poi fare accenno a una possibile evidenza ancora inedita. Si cercheranno similarità e differenze tra tali contesti, sia dal punto di vista tipologico e morfologico, sia per quanto riguarda le modalità di realizzazione delle pitture. Ultimo passo sarà quello di inserire tali evidenze in un più ampio ambito nazionale ed internazionale, per tentare di comprenderne una cronologia generale. Obiettivo principale è riportare l'attenzione sulle manifestazioni simboliche nei Monti Lepini e più in generale nell'Italia Centrale, così da dare un nuovo impulso alle ricerche archeologiche in tal senso.
... 8d-e) (Graziosi, 1973). In recenti lavori, nuove figure furono identificate, tra cui una sagoma femminile e uno zoomorfo attributo ad un bovide (Ciccarese, 2000;Mussi & De Marco, 2008). Le nuove attività di ricerca, tutt'ora in corso, stanno dimostrando come alcune delle linee disordinate ed incomprensibili formano unità grafiche definite (Sigari & Sardella, 2018). ...
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Nel parco Naturale Regionale Costa Otranto Santa Maria di Leuca - Bosco di Tricase sono presenti cavità carsiche che rappresentano preziosi archivi naturali dei cambiamenti climatici avvenuti nel corso del Quaternario e dell ' antica presenza umana sul territorio. Tra queste cavità, Grotta Romanelli ha attirato l' attenzione degli studiosi sin dalla fine del 1800. Grazie alle loro ricerche, la grotta ha restituito numerosi reperti archeologici (manufatti in calcare e in selce), sepolture umane, arte parietale e mobiliare, e reperti paleontologici, come il pinguino boreale alca impenne (Pinguinus impennis) divenuto una vera e propria icona della cosiddetta "era glaciale". La straordinaria ricchezza dei depositi ha reso Grotta Romanelli un sito chiave per lo studio dei cambiamenti climatici e delle relazioni tra uomo e ambiente nell'area mediterranea durante il Quaternario. Il contenuto della grotta, che si apre direttamente sul mare, è esposto ad un alto rischio di degrado per alterazione ad opera delle acque sia continentali (precipitazione, percolazione, ruscellamento), sia marine (mareggiate e spray marino). Pertanto, la nuova fase di scavi, iniziata nel 2015 e tuttora in corso, pone un'attenzione particolare alla documentazione e alle azioni atte alla conservazione della cavità, del deposito che vi è ancora conservato, delle pareti decorate con centinaia di incisioni. A tal fine è stato avviato il monitoraggio sistematico dei fattori di degrado, il rilievo speleologico e archeologico delle evidenze di arte rupestre e la realizzazione di modelli 3D, importante risorsa per la musealizzazione e la valorizzazione interattiva di grotte di difficile accesso ai non addetti ai lavori, come è Grotta Romanelli.
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The Romanelli Cave in south-east Italy is an important reference point for the so-called ‘Mediterranean province’ of European Upper Palaeolithic art. Yet, the site has only recently been subject to a systematic investigation of its parietal and portable art. Starting in 2016, a project has recorded the cave's interior, discovering new parietal art. Here, the authors report on a selection of panels, featuring animal figures, geometric motifs and other marks, identifying the use of different types of tools and techniques, along with several activity phases. These panels are discussed with reference to radiocarbon dating of nearby deposits, posing questions about chronology, technology and wider connections between Upper Palaeolithic cave sites across western Eurasia.
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A first list of datings by our laboratory was published in 1957 (Bella and Cortesi, 1957). The measurements were performed with a solid Carbon counter (Ballario et al. , 1955). Between the beginning of 1958 and December 1961 laboratory apparatus was completely renewed and proportional gas-counters were introduced. At present four counters are available. Measurements are carried out with CO 2 at 3 atm pressure.
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EARLIEST ITALY AN OVERVIEW OF THE ITALIAN PALAEOLITHIC AND MESOLITHIC Contents Chapter 1 The land and the scientists 1.1 The geography of Italy 1.1.1 A brief description. 1.1.2 Climate. 1.2 Outline of the history of archaeological research 1.2.1 Precursors. Luigi Pigorini and the formal recognition of a new science. 1.2.2 The great debates on the earliest peopling of Italy. 1.2.3 More recent trends. Chapter 2 The earliest settlement 2.1 Introduction 2.1.1 Modern and traditional dating methods in Italian archaeology. 2.1.2 The palaeogeography of Italy during the Lower and early Middle Pleistocene. Flora and fauna. 2.2 The time and the way 2.2.1 The date and characteristics of the earliest archaeological record. 2.2.2 Human remains. 2.2.3 The hypothesis of direct contacts with Northern Africa: archaeology, palaeontology, palaeogeography. The Sicilian sites. 2.3 Technological developments 2.3.1 Trends in lithic technology. 2.3.2 Typological characteristics of the earliest industries. Bifaces and sampling problems. 2.3.3 Bone flaking and bone tools. 2.3.4 The evidence for scavenging, hunting, and meat and marrow consumption. 2.3.5 Fire and fire control. 2.4 Characteristics of the preferred environments 2.4.1 Problems in site preservation. The geographical distribution of open-air sites. An evaluation of the site sample. 2.4.2 Characteristics of the local environment. 2.4.3 Cave sites compared to open-air sites. Site extension and patterning. 2.5 Comments 2.5.1 The date of the first settlement. Long or short chronology? 2.5.2 The density of human population. Continuous or discontinuous settlement? 2.5.3 Glimpses into social organisation. Chapter 3 Real colonisation 3.1 Introduction 3.1.1 A critical evaluation of the chronological framework and dating methods. The major gaps in the archaeological record. Lakes and caves. 3.1.2 The environment during the late Middle Pleistocene. 3.1.3 Some relevant sites. 3.1.4 The palaeoanthropological record. 3.2 The emergence of technological complexity 3.2.1 Interpreting assemblage diversity. Acheulean, handaxes and lack of handaxes. The full development of the Levallois technique. The earliest Middle Palaeolithic. 3.2.2 Bone flaking and bone tools. 3.2.3 Taking advantage of a seasonal ecological niche: the sites of the Aurelian Formation. 3.2.4 Fire and fireplaces. Settling into caves. 3.2.5 The settled areas. 3.3 Lower Palaeolithic marine crossings? 3.3.1 Flake cleavers and hypothetical contacts with Africa. The way to Sicily. 3.3.2 Problems related to archaeological findings in Sardinia. 3.4 Comments 3.4.1 Comparative evaluation of site density. 3.4.2 Settlement, seasonality and the exploitation of different ecological niches. 3.4.3 Comparing the earlier and the later evidence. A long-term and successful adaptation. Chapter 4 On Neandertals and caves 4.1 Introduction 4.1.1 Terminology of the last glaciation. The framework. Würmian stadials and isotopic substages. High marine stands and Tyrrhenian beaches. 4.1.2 The main characteristics of the Mousterian in Italy. The Pontinian Mousterian. Possibly earlier assemblages. 4.1.3 Biases in the archaeological record. 4.1.4 Some important sites. 4.1.5 The palaeoanthropological record. The skull found in Gr. Guattari. 4.2 A changing environment 4.2.1 The temperate beginnings of the last glaciation. Elephants, hippos, fallow deer and other animals of the grasslands. The cave-dwellers: hyenas and bears. Long- lived forests. 4.2.2 Isotopic stage 4. A larger continental platform. Loess and other aeolian deposits. A glacial environment in the Mediterranean. 4.2.3 Hard times for the pachyderms. The distribution of ibex, chamois, and other "cold" animals. The limited recovery of OIS 3. 4.2.4 Dwelling in the open and in previously unoccupied caves. The exploitation of forest environment. 4.2.5 Living in a colder climate. Caves and the exploitation of steppe environment. 4.3 Mousterian variability 4.3.1 Intrasite variability and patterning. Hearths and lenses of ashes. 4.3.2 Intersite variability. Preferred sites and peripheral sites. Mountain sites. The evidence for killing and butchering sites and for quarry sites. 4.3.3 Procurement strategies. Flint and other fine-grained stones. 4.3.4 Experimentation and innovation. The exploitation of different animal species. Shells as a raw material. Bone tools. 4.3.5 Regional differentiation in earlier industrial assemblages. 4.3.6 Chronological diversification. Typological and technological trends in the final Mousterian. 4.4 Comments 4.4.1 Caves and site preservation. Human beings and other cave- dwellers. Adapting to caves. 4.4.2 The colder the better? Biomass problems. Hunting and the consumption of meat. 4.4.3 More comparisons with previous and later periods. Towards the definition of a "Middle Palaeolithic package". Chapter 5 Moderns vs. Neandertals 5.1 Introduction 5.1.1 The search for the Synthétotype of Laplace. The so-called "Protoaurignacian". Surface collections and the problem of mixed industries. 5.1.2 Typological and technological characteristics of the Uluzzian and of the Italian Aurignacian. The "Circeian". The geographical distribution inside and outside Italy. 5.1.3 The main stratigraphic sequences. 5.1.4 Problems in absolute dating. Limitations and new developments in the radiocarbon chronology. A relative chronology for Italy. 5.1.5 The fluctuating environment. Fauna and flora. Pedogenesis and other geo-pedological phenomena. 5.1.6 On humans and volcanoes. The final part of the Early Upper Palaeolithic in Italy. 5.1.7 Palaeoanthropological evidence. 5.2 Exploring and exploiting 5.2.1 Intrasite complexity and intersite differentiation. Dwelling structures and mobile shelters. Quarry sites. 5.2.2 The exploitation of local resources and the planning of seasonal movements. The exploration of mountainous areas. 5.2.3 Island sites. Elba and Sicily compared. 5.3 Uluzzian and Aurignacian compared 5.3.1 Contemporaneity or succession of Uluzzian and Aurignacian? 5.3.2 Uluzzian, Aurignacian and late Mousterian. The possible origins of the Uluzzian and of the Aurignacian. 5.3.3 Technical achievements. Microliths and composite tools. Bone and antler tools. 5.3.4 Ornaments and symbolic activity. 5.4 Comments 5.4.1 Intruders and aboriginal settlers: possible scenarios for the populating of Italy. 5.4.2 Living in an underpopulated world. Palaeodemographic and geographic constraints. The disappearance of human groups from Italy. Chapter 6 Fully equipped hunter-gatherers 6.1 Introduction 6.1.1 West European and Italian environments. 6.1.2 The palaeoanthropological record. The date of the Grimaldi burials as related to the history of Palaeolithic archaeology. Dating problems. Consequences of sampling bias. 6.2 Archaeological evidence inside and outside the peninsula 6.2.1 Some major sites 6.2.2 The first Gravettian evidence and the hiatus in the archaeological record. 6.2.3 Typology and problems of terminology. Criticism of the "Laplace System". 6.2.4 An evaluation of the stratigraphic sequence of Gr. Paglicci, Apulia, as a reference sequence for the whole peninsula. South-eastern France as an alternative reference area. 6.2.5 The Gravettian with Noailles burins: Europe and Italy. 6.2.6 The evidence for other Gravettian assemblages, including those with Font Robert points. 6.2.7 The Early Epigravettian compared to other European evidence, including Arenian and Solutrean. 6.3 The approach to a new territory 6.3.1 Explorers and hunting parties. Projectile points and their distribution. The elusive Sicilian evidence. The adaptation to a different environment. 6.3.2 Mobile camp sites. Base camps. Flint procurement. 6.3.3 Hunting strategies. An evaluation of the evidence for specialised hunting sites. Shifts in hunting practices. 6.4 Ritual behaviour and practical constraints 6.4.1 Burying only a segment of the society in caves. The evidence for selection. Burial practices and burial goods. Long-distance relationships. 6.4.2 The date of the "Venus" figurines. Location, raw material constraint and the search for steatite. Comparisons with other European figurines. 6.4.3 Parietal art. The isolated paintings of Gr. Paglicci. Comparisons with French paintings. More on long-distance relationships. 6.4.4 Engravings and mobile art. 6.4.5 Body ornamentation in chronological context. 6.5 Comments 6.5.1 Colonising an empty land? The discrete geographic distribution of sites. 6.5.2 Low population density and demographic instability. Evidence of social asymmetry. The possible bases of social asymmetry. 6.5.3 Gravettian and Aurignacian settlement compared. A definitive colonisation. 6.5.4 The Glacial Maximum in Europe and in Italy. A changing social organisation in a changing world. Chapter 7 The great shift 7.1 Introduction 7.1.1 The late glacial and early post-glacial record. Why we shall not split this chronological time-span. 7.1.2 Calibration and absolute chronology. The problem of the Evolved Epigravettian. 7.1.3 Discussing the terminology. Final Epigravettian and Mesolithic: different meanings in Italian archaeology. Sauveterrian and Castelnovian. 7.1.4 Reference sites of Late Pleistocene and early Holocene date. 7.2 Different niches in a changing landscape 7.2.1 The general environment: deglaciation, forest development, the rising sea-level. The fauna. Volcanic eruptions. 7.2.2 Cliffs and lagoons. The exploitation of marine resources. 7.2.3 The coastal areas. The dwindling Great Adriatic Plain. A glacial marshland. 7.2.4 At the foothills and up the mountains. 7.2.5 Where mountain and sea merge. 7.2.6 Away from the coasts and out of the mountains. 7.2.7 A new world: Sicily. Nautical skills. The problematic Sardinia. 7.3 Local and regional diversification 7.3.1 Regionalisation in the lithic industry. Romanellian and Epiromanellian. Bouverian. Sicilian industries. 7.3.2 Technological complexity. The limited evidence of bone tool manufacture. A general trend toward microlithisation. Grinding and pounding. Dwelling structures. The vanished record. 7.3.3 Engravings of the mainland and of Sicily. The representation of human beings. Paintings. The late emergence of a regional artistic style. 7.3.4 Local burial practices. A comparison with earlier practices. 7.4 Exchanging and sharing resources and ideas 7.4.1 Innovative projectile points. Quarry sites. Flint and rock crystal of distant origin. 7.4.2 Marine shell procurement and distribution. The evidence for specialised sites. 7.4.3 More on painting, engraving, and on decorated pebbles. Comparisons with Franco-Cantabria. 7.4.4 The search for deep subterranean caves. The organisation of the "sanctuary" of Levanzo compared to the Franco- Cantabrian evidence. 7.5 Comments 7.5.1 Caring for the living and the dead. Handicapped people. 7.5.2 A successful and expanding population. Coping with a changing landscape. 7.5.3 Causes of concern. Intensified ritual activity. Exogamy and spousal exchange. 7.6 Final remarks 7.6.1 Comparison with previous interglacials. 7.6.2 Epilogue.