The caves of Mount Etna have been the object of study for more than a hundred years, since P. Orsi began his investigations in the lava flow galleries of the Catania suburb of Barriera and later in the urban area of Biancavilla, on the western slope of the volcano. The most recent research, after the World War II, instead, have emphasized the funerary and ceremonial aspect of these cavities, especially after the numerous explorations conducted around Adrano, Castiglione, Bronte and in the Barriera itself. Apart from a scarce presence of Late and Final Neolithic traces, probably not attributable to the funerary aspect, the funerary use of the caves is certainly established and predominant from the Final Copper Age and throughout the Early Bronze Age (2500-1400 BC). Together with the purely funerary use of the caves, ritual or even cultic activities are not excluded. Representative is the Petralia cave at Catania, where have been found circular structures formed by stones or slabs planted vertically in a marginal area of the burial spaces. The research of recent years has allowed to verify the existence of megalithic funerary structures conceptually comparable in areas close to caves certainly frequented by the Neolithic and with numerous burials of the Early Bronze Age. We believe that the coexistence, in the same context, of different types of burials can be explained not so much as cultural or social differentiation, but rather in terms of complex ritual actions in which the manipulation and translation of the bones of the deceased constituted an important and significant aspect.

Al buio e alla luce. Grotte e strutture epigeiche dell’antica età del bronzo nell’area etnea

Orazio Palio
;
2022-01-01

Abstract

The caves of Mount Etna have been the object of study for more than a hundred years, since P. Orsi began his investigations in the lava flow galleries of the Catania suburb of Barriera and later in the urban area of Biancavilla, on the western slope of the volcano. The most recent research, after the World War II, instead, have emphasized the funerary and ceremonial aspect of these cavities, especially after the numerous explorations conducted around Adrano, Castiglione, Bronte and in the Barriera itself. Apart from a scarce presence of Late and Final Neolithic traces, probably not attributable to the funerary aspect, the funerary use of the caves is certainly established and predominant from the Final Copper Age and throughout the Early Bronze Age (2500-1400 BC). Together with the purely funerary use of the caves, ritual or even cultic activities are not excluded. Representative is the Petralia cave at Catania, where have been found circular structures formed by stones or slabs planted vertically in a marginal area of the burial spaces. The research of recent years has allowed to verify the existence of megalithic funerary structures conceptually comparable in areas close to caves certainly frequented by the Neolithic and with numerous burials of the Early Bronze Age. We believe that the coexistence, in the same context, of different types of burials can be explained not so much as cultural or social differentiation, but rather in terms of complex ritual actions in which the manipulation and translation of the bones of the deceased constituted an important and significant aspect.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11769/546204
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