Grooved stone tools from Calabria region (Italy): Archaeological evidence and research perspectives

  • Felice Larocca Università degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro
  • Francesco Breglia Università degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro
Keywords: grooved stone tools, Italy, Calabria, prehistory, mines, ground stone tools

Abstract


Since the end of the 19th century the Calabria region in southern Italy has been known for an abundance of grooved stone axes and hammers used during late prehistory. These artefacts are characterized by a wide and often pronounced groove in the middle of the implement, thought to have aided securing the head to a wooden haft. Their widespread presence is known both in prehistoric archaeological literature and in the archaeological collections of various regional and extra-regional museums. At first, scholars did not relate these tools to the rich Calabrian ore deposits and to possible ancient mining activities; they were regarded simply as a variant of ground lithic industry of Neolithic tradition. However, between 1997 and 2012, about 50 tools were discovered in the prehistoric mine of Grotta della Monaca in northern Calabria where there are outcrops of copper and iron ore. This allowed us to recognize their specific mining value and to consider them as a sort of “guide fossil” for the identification of ancient mining districts. This paper presents the results of a study involving over 150 tools from the entire region, effectively demonstrating an almost perfect co-occurrence of grooved axes and hammers with areas rich in mineral resources, especially metalliferous ores.

Author Biographies

Felice Larocca, Università degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro

Università degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro
Gruppo di Ricerca Speleo-Archeologica
Piazza Umberto I n. 1, 70121 Bari
Italy

and

Centro Regionale di Speleologia “Enzo dei Medici”
Via Lucania n. 3, 87070 Roseto Capo Spulico, Cosenza
Italy

Francesco Breglia, Università degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro

Università degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro
Gruppo di Ricerca Speleo-Archeologica
Piazza Umberto I n. 1, 70121 Bari
Italy

and

Centro Regionale di Speleologia “Enzo dei Medici”
Via Lucania n. 3, 87070 Roseto Capo Spulico, Cosenza
Italy

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Published
31-Oct-2016
How to Cite
Larocca, F., & Breglia, F. (2016). Grooved stone tools from Calabria region (Italy): Archaeological evidence and research perspectives. Journal of Lithic Studies, 3(3), 301-312. https://doi.org/10.2218/jls.v3i3.1673
Section
Papers Presented at the 1st Meeting of the Association for Ground Stone Tools Research