Archaeological Museum of Bologna

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Collections / Sections / Bologna in prehistory

The Neolithic and the first pottery

The Neolithic (5700–3500 BC) marked a watershed in the history of humanity. Neolithization effectively ushered in the transition from a predatory economy of hunting and gathering to a productive economy of agriculture and breeding. This is testified by a series of technological innovations: the use of grindstones for milling and pottery vessels for storing grains, the production of implements to clear the land of trees – axes and hatchets – in order to plant crops and of new polished stone implements such as blades for billhooks. This was a gradual phenomenon that, in northern Italy, developed over the course of the 6th millennium BC, but had originated several centuries earlier in the southern part of the peninsula.

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In the Neolithic we can recognize a series of common traits in settlement patterns, funerary rituals, and the production and decoration of artefacts recurrent in a specific territory and time period. Based on what can be gleaned from archaeological research, they can be considered the characteristic expressions of specific cultural and social systems, conventionally defined as archaeological cultures and named for the geographical setting in which they were manifested (or where they were clearly recognized for the first time).

In the Alpine and Po region, groups of Mesolithic hunter-gatherers and the earliest communities of farmers and breeders coexisted for several centuries, based on a system of mutual relations about which we still know very little. The problem is particularly intriguing regarding the formation of the Fiorano culture (named after the site in the Modena area), which was found across much of the Alpine-Po area: the main Neolithic testimony from the Bologna territory is referable to this culture.
The settlement of Casalecchio di Reno can be attributed to the Fiorano culture based on the traits of its stone industry.

This large vessel was probably used to hold food. It is from a settlement of several hundred structures (post holes, wells, etc.) attributable to the Neolithic Fiorano culture. The form and decoration of the vase, with large flexible cords and flat handles, are typical of this cultural milieu, as are the stone products – most of which made of Alpine flint – found with the pottery.

Provenance: Casalecchio di Reno (Bologna). Zona A, structure 31
Datation: Early Neolithic (5.700 - 5.000 BC)
Material: Impasto
Dimensions: h cm. 26,8; diam cm. 40,2
Inventory #: SBAER 251420

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