GROTTA DI CALA DEL GENOVESE

Favignana (TP) - Sicilia

The cave, on the small island of Levanzo in the Egadi archipelago (Trapani), is one of the most important Paleolithic settlements in Sicily and, in regards to evidence of prehistoric art, it is one of the most significant in Italy.
Paolo Graziosi (Florence University) organized researches and excavations in the first 1950s years, later Sebastiano Tusa (Ufficio Archeologico, Regione Sicilia) organized new excavations.
The archaeological deposits support a human presence in the Late Paleolithic (Final Epigravettian) and the Neolithic.

The paintings were reported by Francesca Minellono in 1949. One, in red, is attributed to the Paleolithic, while the others, in black, to a later period (Neolithic-Eneolithic).
The engravings, attributed to the Paleolithic, were identified in the rear of the cave by Minellono, by Alda Vigliardi and Paolo Graziosi the following year. They are gathered in seven groups and were made mostly with thin line. Very homogeneous, the engravings (twenty-nine animals vs. four anthropomorphs) were made in a naturalistic style, and they express and represent one of the highest manifestations of the realist Mediterranean style: the stretch is decided, absent or rarely with anatomical details, the horns of the bovines (one horn per subject) are pointing forwards and in an open profile.

Two pebbles painted in Azilian style integrate the iconographic documentation.

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.

Cultures

Epigravettian
Final Epigravettian

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