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Paolo Orsi (1859–1935) and the prehistory of Sicily

  • Robert Leighton

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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ARIAS, P.E. 1976. Quattro Archeologi del Nostro Secolo (Pisa).
BERNABÒ-BREA, L. 1957. Sicily before the Greeks (London).
BUCHNER, G. 1977. Cuma neirVIII secolo a.C. osservata dalla prospettiva di Pithecusa in I Campi Flegrei nelVarcheologia e nella storia, Atti dei Convegni Lincei 33 (Rome, May 1976) 131148.
DE SANTIS, T. 1982. Paolo Orsi. II grande dimenticato, Magna Grecia, XVII, fasc 1112, 13.
LA ROSA, V. 1978. Paolo Orsi; una ‘storia accademica’, Archivio Storico per la Sicilia Orientate, 74, 465571
ORSI, P.. 1884. Gli Ibero-Liguri nella necropoli di Este, Bullettino di Paletnologia Jtaliana, 10, 16978.
ORSI, P.. 1889. Contributi all’archeologia preellenica Sicula, BPI, 15, 15888, 197231.
ORSI, P.. 1890. La stazione neolitica di Stentinello, BPI, 16, 177200.
ORSI, P.. 1895. Thapsos, Monumenti Antichi dei Lincei, 6, 89150.
ORSI, P.. 1897. Nuovi materiali Siculi del territorio di Girgenti, BPI, 23.
ORSI, P.. 1899a. Pantalica e Cassibile, MAL, 9, 33146.
ORSI, P.. 1899b. Pantelleria MAL, 9, 459540.
ORSI, P.. 1900. Ripostigli di bronzi Siculi, BPI, 26, 16474.
ORSI, P.. 1904. Sicula, BPI 30, 1316.
ORSI, P.. 1906. Gela. Scavi del 1900—1905, MAL, 17, 5758.
ORSI, P.. 1907. Centuripe, Notizie degli Scavi, 5,4, 4915.
ORSI, P.. 1910. Siracusa. Esplorazioni dentro ed intorno al tempio di Athena in Siracusa, Notizie deli Scavi, 5,7, 519619.
ORSI, P.. 1912. Stentinello, Notizie degli Scavi, 5,9, 3567.
ORSI, P.. 1923. La Sicilia Preellenica, Atti della Societa Italiana perilProgresso delle Scienze (XII Riunione, Catania 1923).
ORSI, P.. 1926. Le necropoli preelleniche Calabresi di Torre Galli e di Canale, Ianchina, Patariti, MAL, 31, 1376.
RIDGWAY, D. 1984, L’Alba della Magna Grecia (Milan).
ZANOTTI-BIANCO, U. 1935. Paolo Orsi, Archivio Storico per la Calabria e la Lucania, 5, 139.
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  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
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