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Paleolithic and Neolithic

Majella is extraordinarily rich in wild nature as well as in historic, archaeological and architecture testimonies. Actually it has always been inhabited, since the Paleolithic era, 800,000 years ago. Firstly the Homo erectus appeared, in the Lower Paleolithic, then the Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, in the Middle Paleolithic.

About 35,000 years ago Homo sapiens sapiens appeared, marking the beginning of the Upper Paleolithic.This is the long period of the hunter and gatherer man, organized in small groups, which used the natural resources of the mountain to get food, collecting wild non-cultivated products and hunting big mammals, and kneading materials flint to make tools.
Rich testimonies of this long period were found out in the important sites of Giumentina Valley (Little Dam Cave), Grotta degli Orsi (Bears Cave) and Grotta del Colle (Hill Cave).

During the Neolithic (from 6,600 to 4,500/4,000 years ago), populations from the Balkans area arrived and bearing agriculture in this region; a fusion with the hunter-gathers of the precedent period certainly took place. Above all, the forms of settling changed: they no longer lived in caves, but in “open air villages constituted by sheds with the foundation on the soil surface, while caves became a sepulture place for dead and a location for rites and sacred ceremonies”. Along with agriculture, this population also developed permanent animal husbandry different from the real pastoralism.

There are many remains of human skeletons from that period: also with skulls, like the one that was found out in 1914 in the Fonti Rossi locality of Lama dei Peligni, which allowed to certainly assert the presence of the “Homo della Maiella”. We know many places where that population camped out and where worship practices took place. There pottery artifacts, firstly just impressed, then kneaded and decorated in a different way, were found out and revealed the production of crockery, used for cooking and conserve food. In the St. Callisto Springs the small female terracotta idol, which is believed to be the representation of the “mother goddess”, was discovered.

Image of the shelter dePompeis
Image of the Paleolithic site of Valle Giumentina
Image of flints of Valley Giumentina
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