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Neolithic Painted Ware in the Adriatic

  • Warwick Bray

The neolithic pottery of peninsular Italy is known in England chiefly through Stevenson's classic paper of 1947 which established the sequence of styles in Apulia, and the Sicilian material through the work of Bernabò Brea [I]. Neither of these studies paid much attention to the Abruzzo-Molise region where Rellini had published material from Ripoli as long ago as 1934 [2] and where more recent work by Radmilli and his associates has provided new information about the local neolithic cultures. Excavations along the Adriatic coast of Yugoslavia have led to the definition of the new cultures of Hvar and Danilo, and three painted ware provinces can now be recognized: ApuIia-Sicily, the Abruzzo, and Dalmatia. All three regions border the Adriatic and each was at some time in contact with the others (FIG. I).

The best starting-point is still south Italy where the sequence from impressed ware, through red-painted fasce larghe plus scratched, to black-bordered red bands (Capri) and finally Serra d'Alto remains valid, except in the region of Foggia where Trump has established a rather different local sequence [3].

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* Usually the two are found together in unstratified deposits, but at Grotta dei Piccioni a degenerate red- painted ware persists into the Ripoli level and at S. Maria al Bagno, near Lecce, there is a marked overlap [9].


[1] Stevenson, R., P.P.S., 1947, 85; Brea, Bernabò, Sicily before the Greeks (1957).

[2] Rellini, U., La più antica ceramica dipinta in Italia (1934).

[3] Trump, D., Papers of the B.S.R., 1963, 27.

[4] Radmilli, A. M. in Trecentomila Anni di Vita in Abruzzo (Chieti, 1962), 3541 and 56; Atti della VII Riunione Scientifica (Florence, 1963), 141. I am grateful to Professor Radmilli for sending me literature not readily available in England, and to him and Dr Trump for correcting the map of Ripoli ware.

[5] Mirosavijević, V., Arheološky radovi i rasprave, II, 1962, 175 .

[6] Radmilli, A. M., Atti Soc. Toscana Sc. Nat., series A, LXVI, 1959, 422 .

[7] von Löwenstern, E. Borzatti, Rivista di Scienze Preistoriche, 1962, 205 .

[8] Cremonesi, G., Rivista di Scienze Preistoriche, 1965, 85.

[9] di Cesnola, A. Palma and Minellano, F., Rivista di Scienze Preistoriche, 1961, 57.

[10] Rellini, U., Monumenti Antichi, XXIX, 1923 .

[11] Brea, Bernabò, Gli scavinella caverna delle Arene Candide, 11, 1956, 91. The Ripoli sherd comes from Caverna dell’Acqua, v. Amerano, , Bull, di Paletnologia Italiana, 1891, 91. A painted sherd with a row of dots is reported from the 1914 excavations at Grotta all’Onda, near Lucca, v. Graziosi, P., Archivio per l’Antropologia e Etnologia, 1944, 113. The piece is not illustrated and I have been unable to trace it.

[12] Jully, J.-J., Bull, de la Soc. Préhistorique Française, 1961, 412. I have not been able to check his reference to Cong. Préhist. de France, 1959.

[13] Evans, J. D., London Institute of Archaeology, Annual Report, 1955–6, 60; Guerrero, M. Esteve, Acta Archaeologica Hispanica, III, 1945, pl. VIII .

[14] antiquity, 1962, 139.

[15] Blance, B., antiquity, 1961, 200.

[16] Personal information from Dr Trump.

[17] Puglisi, S., Rivista di Scienze Preistoriche, 1953 , fig. 3a.

[18] Brea, Bernabò, Bull, di Paletnologia, 1956 .

[19] Rellini, U., Monumenti Antichi (1923), fig. 18.

[20] Discussion of the scratched pottery is outside the scope of this note, but Miss Silvia Mann (in a lecture to the Prehistoric Society, 27th March 1963) has demonstrated the close relationship in vessel form and decorative syntax between the scratched and painted wares.

[21] Calzoni, U., Studi Etruschi (1940), 301. The Ripoli sherds are not illustrated but are among the material in Perugia Museum. One sherd has a red pattern bordered with black, the second has a band of dots in combination with lozenge and chevron designs.

[22] Radmilli, A. M., La Preistoria d’Italia alla luce delle ultime scoperte (Florence, 1963), 193 .

[23] Korosec, J., Neolitska naseobina u Danilu Bitinju, I (1958).

[24] Batović, S., Diadora, 11 (1962), 31 .

[25] Weinberg, S., Hesperia (1962).

[26] Korosec, J., Atti del VI Cong. Int. delle Scienze Preistoriche e Protostoriche (Rome, 1962), 145 .

[27] Novak, G., Prethistorijski Hvar (1955), 328 and pl. CCXLVII.

[28] Novak, G., Arheoloiki radovi i rasprave, II (1962), 19 .

[29] Personal information from Professor Korošec.

Dr Bray, a Lecturer in Archaeology in the University of Sheffield, has done extensive researches in the field of prehistoric archaeology in the Central and Western Mediterranean. In this article he discusses the neolithic painted wares of the Adriatic coasts of Italy and Yugoslavia.

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