Villanova culture

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Cultural area of ​​the Villanova culture around 900 BC Chr.

The Villanova culture is an early Iron Age culture from the 10th / 9th centuries. Century BC In central Italy south of the Apennines in the area of ​​today's Tuscany and in the Bologna area. It developed under the influence of the Late Bronze Age Urnfield Culture - around the same time as the Este culture in the northern and the Golasecca culture in the western Po Valley - and disappeared in the 5th century BC. The Villanova culture was replaced in its settlement area by the culture of the Etruscans .

The cultural form was named after the village or Gut Villanova in the municipality of Castenaso , 10 km east of Bologna on the Idice River. There a burial ground of the Villanova culture was discovered in 1853 , which Count Giovanni Gozzadini had excavated for the first time with scientific objectives.

Typical of the Villanova culture are urns decorated with geometric motifs , which in men's graves were often covered with bronze or clay helmets, and so-called hut or house urns as well as rich grave goods (ceramics, weapons, jewelry). The main archaeological sources are large urn grave fields. Cremation with urn burial was widespread throughout Europe in the Bronze and Iron Ages. In the late period of the Villanova culture, there was a transition from urn burial to body burial.

The material basis of the Villanova culture was based on agriculture and livestock . In addition, the manufacture of ceramics and the manufacture of tools and weapons from iron were of great importance. The social structure of the early Villanova culture was probably not very differentiated. At sites from later times, however, there are features of a stronger hierarchization , which can be read from the spatial structure of the settlement sites and the arrangement and grave goods of the graves. On the basis of iron smelting and intensive trade in iron, proto-urban settlements with aristocratic ruling classes emerged.

The Villanova culture is closely related to the culture of the Etruscans , of which it is considered to be the forerunner. The period of transition from the Villanova culture to the Etruscans (late 8th to early 6th century BC) is referred to in Italian prehistoric research as the Periodo Orientalizzante ( orientalizing period ), because during this period of time there was an increasing cultural dimension due to immigration movements and trade relations Influences from the Near Eastern region of the ancient oriental empires took effect, which among other things led to the emergence of a local script and coinage .


  • Archaeological studies on the relationships between ancient Italy and the zone north of the Alps during the early Iron Age of ancient Europe (=  Regensburg Contributions to Prehistoric Archeology. Vol. 4). Results of a colloquium in Regensburg, 3. – 5. November 1994. Universitäts-Verlag Regensburg u. a., Regensburg u. a. 1998, ISBN 3-930480-23-9 .
  • Petra Amann: The “Protovillanova” phenomenon in Late Bronze Age Italy and its relevance for the formation of the Early Iron Age cultural groups on the Italian peninsula. In: Raimund Karl, Jutta Leskovar (Hrsg.): Interpretierte Eisenzeit. Case studies, methods, theory. Conference contributions from the 1st Linz Discussions on Interpretative Iron Age Archeology (= Studies on the Cultural History of Upper Austria, Volume 18). Linz 2005 ( online ).
  • Klaus Radatz: Grave finds of the Villanova culture from Monte Campanile in Veji Prov. Rome. In: Mario Liverani, Alba Palmieri, Renato Peroni (eds.): Studi di Paletnologia in onore di Salvatore M. Publesi. Università di Roma “La Sapienza” - Dipartimento di scienze storiche, archeologiche e antropologiche dell'antichità, Rome 1985, pp. 851-861.
  • Pietro Tamburini: Un abitato villanoviano perilacustre. Il "Gran Carro" sul lago di Bolsena (1959–1985) (= Tyrrhenica. Vol. 5 = Archaeologica. Vol. 113). Bretschneider, Rome 1995, ISBN 88-7689-114-5 .
  • Maria Antonietta, Fugazzola Delpino: La Cultura Villanoviana. Rome 1984.

Web links

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