Otranto (LE) - Puglia

The underground karst complex of Porto Badisco is valued at the international level above all due to the studies of Paolo Graziosi (University of Florence) relating to Neolithic parietal painted evidence. The excavations by the local Archaeological Superintendence in the 1970's revealed a sequence of Neolithic and Copper Age layers, which follow, as highlighted by Mara Guerri's investigations (University of Florence) into the cavities A and D, a more ancient human presence including Mesolithic levels.

Historical framework
Upper Paleolithic

Coinciding with the arrival of the species Homo sapiens in Europe was the most recent phase of the Paleolithic (between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago). Here, we see a break with the previous cultural traditions of the Neanderthals, and the beginning of a series of utilitarian and symbolic practices which developed in the millennia leading up to the arrival of the Neolithic. The presence of strategically located settlements, subsistence practices based on hunting and gathering, the modality of funerary rites and the beginning of the figurative art allow us to follow the transformation of the earliest sapiens cultures.


Final Epigravettian

The end of the Pleistocene coincided with the end of the last glaciation, and what came to follow was the Holocene - the geological epoch in which we now live. The chrono-cultural phase that proceeded the Palaeolithic is called the Mesolithic, and it represents the period between 10,000 and around 6,500 years ago. During this period, hunter-gatherers belonging to the Palaeolithic culture were forced to adapt to their new climactic, postglacial environments.

Mesolithic cultures were still inextricably linked to the preceding tradition; no profound alterations or transformations to their way of life are observable, instead cultural activities seem to have continued with suitable modality, adapting to the new ecological situation. For example, regarding the subsistence patterns, the hunting of small mammals and birds increased, as did the consumption of fish of the utilisation of all available marine resources. Funerary rites of this period underwent no significant changes.

A specialisation in the schematic and geometric-linear style came to characterise figurative productions, accentuating schemes and compositions which had already been elaborated at the end of the Epigravettian.


Generic Mesolithic

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