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Magna Grecia, un invito al viaggio

An invitation to voyage - Early colony

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An invitation to voyage
Early colony
Colonial Model
Metapontum foundation
Siris colonisation
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Magna Grecia: an invitation for a voyage

During the IV millennium B.C. the Ionic coast of the Basilicata region experienced new social and economic models in the form of the first agricultural societies of the Neolithic age. Villages grew up formed by huts built in wood and vegetal materials covered in a clay plaster.

The Neolithic sites Contrada Petrulla (Policoro), Cetrangolo (Montalbano Jonico), San Salvatore, Pizzica-Pantanello, Saldone, Tavole Palatine (Metaponto-Bernalda) ) are to be found along the initial coastal high ground, near sources of water and land suitable for agriculture. The manufacture of clay vases was dictated by the necessity to contain and preserve the products of agriculture and cattle breeding. They were large recipients used for the conservation of solid foodstuffs such as wheat and barley and liquids like milk and water.

During the Bronze Age the indigenous populations were firmly settled in the internal zones; they occupied the flat high grounds that were at once natural defences and also a place where it was possible to carry out agricultural activity. From up there they could in fact guard the coast line and exploit the course of the rivers as internal communication routes. This particular territorial position favoured contact with the most advanced external areas of the Mediterranean. During this settlement phase some sites played a central role in controlling the territory.

Until the final era of the Bronze Age sites such as Anglona situated in a dominant position on a hill between the Agri and Sinni rivers, or Termitito on one of the terraces to the right of the Cavone river and San Vito di Pisticci held a predominant economic and political role over the other minor settlements. It is thought they had a complex internal organisational structure and that they carried out lively commercial activities. This is confirmed by various finds showing that there was widespread cultivation of olives, vineyards as well as cereals. Metal ornaments and weapons began to circulate in a consistent way at times along with ceramics even from different social cultural fields, geographically far apart from each other.

This situation changed drastically during the final phases of the Bronze Age. A new way of occupying the territory was adopted: the inland settlements were abandoned in favour of the coastal plateaux that, even if they did not guarantee a natural defence, allowed control over the river valleys.

Indeed the settlements were linked topographically because of the great river valleys, those important routes of communication that connected the Ionic coast to the Apulo-Materana area and the Tirrenico-Campana area or to the other areas of the Ionic region. Another important role of this kind was played by the sheep tracks that ran parallel to the coast such as those of the so called Prehistoric Sheep Track that from Taranto reached the Valle del Crati crossing the Tavole Palatine, San Basilio, Acinapura, Cisterna, Murge di Santa Caterina, Montesoprano and Amendolara areas.

In this new phase the indigenous inhabitants on the flat hills of Valle Sorigliano took control, situated as they were between Anglona and Policoro and San Teodoro Incoronata di Pisticci to the right of the River Basento that dominates the valley. Between the end of the 8th and the 7th century B.C. the latter habitation experienced a gradual transformation caused by new commercial contacts and the arrival of Greek elements

Remains of a settlement found near today’s town of Policoro can be traced back to the same period; this case too seems to attest a Greek presence, of the Ionic type, prior to the colonization of Siritide a presence that, in the course of the 7th century would transform into a polis identified as Siris-Polieion.

The installation model of this site was made up of small nuclei of Greek artisans and shopkeepers operating in this indigenous territory who had integrated into the local community. Near this site merchandise of Greek origin was collected and artefacts produced in situ.

The habitations were made up of groups of huts embedded in the ground generally with an elliptical or circular plan with wooden structures covered in clay plaster ( so called Incannucciata ) as we can see in the sites of Incoronata - San Teodoro, of Tursi and of Santa Maria di Anglona. Service ditches were often to be found inside these huts to store the great clay containers (pithoi) used for the conservation of food produce.


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