EXCERPTS FROM THE BOOK:

TREBBIA VALLEY

FROM THE PALEOLITHIC TO THE IRON AGE

MARIA BERNABĎ BREA

Tipografia Columba ( 1991 )

Biface hand-axe ||| Lower Paleolithic
Gazzola - Piacenza

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PALEOLITHIC MESOLITHIC NEOLITHIC CHALCOLITHIC BRONZE AGE FINAL BRONZE AGE IRON AGE

TOUR OF THE TREBBIA VALLEY


PALEOLITHIC

In the Trebbia valley the earliest evidence of man's presence consists of stone implements, which are ascribed to the end of the lower Paleolithic, more precisely to the final period of the Acheulean culture, which dates back to about 150,000 years ago. Small groups of implements have been discovered in various sites at the entrance of the valley, at between 100 and 200 m. above sea level.

FINDINGS

a) blades, points, flakes and core of Levallois technique from various sites around Gazzola and Rivergaro.  

b) lower Paleolithic scrapers from Croara and Rivergaro. The implements of that period were different kinds of scrapers, rare points with simple retouch and denticulated.  

c) biface hand-axe found near Gazzola. Bifaces, rather rare among our industries, are the more characteristic implement of lower Paleolithic.  

d) a beautiful jasper point with a faceted platform and flat retouch found near Croara is one of the very few pieces of evidence of the middle Paleolithic in the whole western Emilia.  

e) big blade core made of local blue/green flint, from Visignano (Travo). This kind of core is characteristic of the upper Paleolithic and testifies to an efficient production of formed implements. The core from Visignano is therefore one of the rare pieces of evidence of that period, which is almost unknown in our region.

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MESOLITHIC

The site of Saint Barbara (Coli), 1151 m. above sea level. The majority of Mesolithic sites so far known consist of summer camps for high-altitude hunting, where the herds of herbivores had taken shelter.

The "Sella dei generali" (Coli), 1219 m. above sea level. The position chosen for the Mesolithic camps are often close to lake-sides and at the mountain Passes.

FINDINGS

a) Mesolithic implements. The tiny dimension of implements, called microliths, which attests the use of tools mounted in series in wooden handles, features the mesolithic industries.

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NEOLITHIC

In the middle Trebbia Valley numerous Neolithic sites have been located, which date back from 4,000 to 3,000 BC.

In the Po plain the earliest neolithic evidence dates back to 4,500 BC. During the ancient Neolithic we find in this area several cultural groups, who can be distinguished on the ground of their ceramic production; we could cite among them the group of Fiorano, spread from Romagna to the Enza river, and that of Vhˇ di Piadena in the middle-western plain.

Not long ago after the earlier IVth millenary, the ancient Neolithic groups were gradually replaced by the bearers of a new culture, called "the Square-Mouthed Vessels" culture.

finally, about 3,000 years BC., the western cultural current called "Chassey-Lagozza" started to assert itself, spreading firstly through Liguria and later on through the middle and northen Italy.

FINDINGS

a) Casa Gazza (Travo): dwelling structure of the ancient Neolithic, dated back at the C14 between 4,180+/-160 and 3,880+/-210 BC. It consists of a figure-of-eight plain hollow 10 m. long.  

b) the dark and clay filling of that structure was very rich in lithic, faunistic and above all ceramic material.  

c) inside, a heap of burnt clay contained fragments of daub decorated with narrow grooves and with white and brown colours. It could be a stove which had been dismantled in times past.  

d) the pottery from the hut of Casa Gazza is characteristic of the "Vhˇ di Piadena" culture. It consists of carinated, small open bowls, deep bowls on a pedestal base, pots with narrow necks decorated with fine grooves and small bosses; there are moreover jars and bowls decorated with plain or impressed cordons.  

e) bowl decorated with grooves and impressed points, which could be imported from the area of the Fiorano Modenese culture, bejond the Enza river.  

f) vessel with herringbone impressions, imitation of material from Liguria.  

g) the reproduction of a human figure inside a vessel could have a ritual meaning: a magic representation or invocation.  

h) Travo - Saint Andrea. Wide Neolithic dwelling structure. It was a rectangular hut with round corners, 15m. wide and 7 m. long, surrounded by a ditch which could have been a foundation for a wooden paling. The pottery found in S. Andrea consists of small bowls and cups without decoration.  

i) a spindle whorse is the first piece of evidence of the wool spinning in our region.

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CHALCOLITHIC

Just a few piece of evidence of Chalcolithic are so far known in Trebbia Valley. Some beautiful flint daggers could be cited among them. Additionally a stretch of cobbled paving has been recently found at Saint Andrea of Travo, where a few sherds of late Chalcolithic pottery come from.

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BRONZE AGE

At that time the region of Piacenza was a frontier country: it was affected by the Terramare to the East, by less known aspect, characteristics of the north-western Italy, to the South and perhaps to the West.

FINDINGS

a) a bronze age settlement has been located at Pietra Perducca (Travo). In the Trebbia Valley, as well as along the whole of Appennini, the middle and late Bronze Age settlements are characterised by high and naturally defended positions.  

b) sherds with middle Bronze Age characteristic handles, from Groppo di Vaccarezza (Bobbio).

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THE END OF BRONZE AGE

Groppo di Vaccarezza (Bobbio) is an isolatedd huge rock 1,000 meters a.s.l., which was inhabited from the Neolithic to Middle Age, seat of an important settlement of the Final Bronze Age.

FINDINGS

a) excavation at Groppo reveals posts holes and small ditches besides an alignment of stones.  

b) ceramic sherds from Groppo, bearing the typical decoration of the final Bronze Age: combe decorations, incisions, oblique and corded decorations.  

c) Groppo: steatite pearls and unfinished artifacts. Steatite working was typical of the setlements of the Appenninic area.  

d) Malaspina tower of Zerba: at its feet was found a large jar containing a bracelet made with eight bronze armillas. Their shape and their beautiful decoration allow us to date them to the Xth Century BC.  

e) Saint Salvatore (Bobbio): an axe and a spearhead of the latest final Bronze Age were found on the left side of the river.

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IRON AGE

Etruscan elements are recognizable in the middle Trebbia Valley in the Vth c. BC., but also there was a great influence of Golasecca in the region of Piacenza, while the reletionship with the Liguria's coast is still to be evaluated.

FINDINGS

a) an Iron Age settlement has been located at Costa di Vei (Travo), 400 m. a.s.l.

b) sherds from Vei, which are evidence that a village was settle there from the VIth to the IVth c. BC.

c) traces of a settlement which dates back to around the Vth c. BC. exists on Monte Dinavolo (Rivergaro); some tiny sherds of etruscan pottery and Attic-import pottery are one of the few pieces of evidence of the etruscan penetration into the valleys of the western Emilia.

d) "Certosa" fibulas, of the type of Ticino, found at the Groppo. They can be dated to between the end of the Vth and the beginning of the IVth c. BC. and they are spread over the Golasecca area, the western Emilian Appennine and the Liguria. They are proof of the contacts between these teriitories.

e) fragment of blue glass bracelet from Groppo di Vaccarezza. Armillas are typical of the Celtic world and are ascribed to the last period of the Iron Age, which ended with the Roman conquest.

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This page was prepared by Giorgio Zanetti - CANADA (1999)
UPDATED JUNE 2006