Andrea Cardarelli, Andrea Conte (University of Rome "La Sapienza")

The central-northern Apennines in the Late Bronze Age: territorial systems and ritual aspects.

Abstract: The collapse of the Terramare at the end of Recent Bronze Age (12th c. BCE) had strong consequences in various neighbouring areas. In particular, in the territories of Romagna and in the Marche regions, which were strongly connected to the Terramare area during the Recent Bronze Age, a phenomenon similar to Emilia can be observed: the archaeological evidence indicates the abandonment of almost all settlements located in open positions in the plains or low hills and, at the same time, the occupation of the Apennine mountain areas, specifically of defended positions, endowed with wide visual control over the surroundings.

This new model of territorial occupation certainly entailed a decisive economic change: in fact, the mountain areas of the Apennines could not ensure an agricultural production comparable to that of the plains. Conversely, breeding and pastoralism probably assumed a greater weight. In the Middle Tyrrenian area, we can see a partially different transformation. A deep change in terms of economic and demographic is not recognizable, but a sensible growth of the number of settlements with natural or artificial defense seems to indicate a new asset. In Central Italy, during the Final Bronze Age, a significant change can be seen in the sphere of the political-territorial organization. The most important aspect of this new territorial arrangement concerns the possible existence of a territorial-political order that brought together a series of villages in larger political alliances or leagues. Real hegemonic centers with functions of coordination or recognized leadership cannot be clearly identified, but this role seems played by ceremonial centers located on dominant mountain peaks, able to control the neighboring territory and easily identifiable from a considerable distance.


Monte Croce Guardia (AN)
Monte Croce Guardia in the LBA