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Born in Rovereto in the North of Italy during the Risorgimento, and a student at Padua, Vienna and Rome, Orsi is best known for his work in Sicily from 1888 onwards, as inspector and then director of the Syracuse museum. His long and distinguished career began with research in the Trentino where he studied the antiquities of all periods, and his first publication (the first of over 300) appeared in I 878. The Italian archaeological establishment, and prehistorians such as Pigorini, Chierici and Strobel, soon became aware of Orsi's tireless ability as a fieldworker and scholar in his home area. His stratigraphic excavations in the rock-shelter of Colombo di Mori in 1881, his particular interest in prehistory and his early three-fold division of the North Italian Neolithic in 1882 were notable and clearly marked the beginning of systematic research in the Trentino. Orsi became a regular contributor to the Bullettino di Paletnologia Italiana from 1882 and later other journals such as the Monumenti Antichi and the Notizie degli Scavi of the Accademia dei Lincei widely publicized his discoveries in Sicily. By 1893 the editors of the American Journal of Archaeology had drawn attention to his 'immense activity in Sicily , . . By his means Sicily is becoming the part of Italy where the most interesting excavations are being carried on' (293).
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