Prehistory and Protohistory museum
Museo di Preistoria e Protostoria

We inform you that the Archaeological and Artistic collections at the 2°floor and Galleria Fontanesi are temporary closed.

The new Prehistory and Protohistory museum, created on the initiative of Giancarlo Ambrosetti to display the materials found in the Reggio Emilia province between 1940 and 1975, initially opened on the occasion of the 19th Meeting of the Italian Institute of Prehistory and Protohistory. It was then extended and redesigned between 1991 and 1992 and subsequently reopened to the public.

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    The west wing illustrates various moments in Reggio’s Prehistory and the period of Protohistory that goes up to the end of the Bronze Age.
    The Palaeolithic Age is illustrated by a few stone tools, which had floated up to and collected along the borders of Mindell-Rissian terraces, and a number of artefacts found on the paleo-surfaces of mountain areas, as well as by the wonderful industry of Levallois flint-knapping technique excavated in the Ghiardo district. From the Mesolithic Age there are artefacts found in “seasonal camps” located in the high Apennines.
    The Neolithic Age is particularly well-documented from its earliest stage, with the Bazzarola sites providing evidence of “Impressed ceramics”, and the Chiozza site of the “Culture of Fiorano”. The Middle Neolithic period is represented by: Rivaltella-Ca’Romensini, which illustrates the formative moment of the “Culture of Square Mouth Vases”; Via Rivoluzione d’Ottobre, which is highly representative of the “geometrical linear style” of the period; Chiozza, which, at its second human settlement stage, also provides evidence of the later “meander and spiral” style, together with Razza and Sant Ilario Loghetto.
    Some of the major finds on display include the firing kiln found in Rivaltella-Ca’ Romensini, the well from Via Rivoluzione d’Ottobre and the “Venus of Chiozza”, dating from the Palaeolithic period but found in the area of the Neolithic village.
    Chiozza is also the location of the 13 tombs with the huddled up bodies belonging to a vast necropolis, while only one tomb was found in Rivaltella-Ca’ Romensini.

    The materials from Rubiera, Sant’Ilario and Campo Pianelli belong to the Copper Age. They include beautiful ceramics associated with the “Culture of the bell-shaped beakers”, together with more rudimentary vessels for everyday use.
    The Bronze Age begins with Rubiera, the only site associated with the very early stages of that period, and goes on to Braglia, representing the beginning of the Middle Bronze Age, followed by two sites representing the height of the Middle Bronze Age (Roncina and Motta Balestri).
    We then have a number of extensive Terramare settlements including: Cavazzoli, testifying to all the different stages of Terramare settlement starting from the advanced Middle Bronze Age; Torretta, symbolic of the time of great Terramare expansion; and Case Cocconi, one of the largest known Terramare.
    The remaining display cabinets contain items from sites located in hillside and mountain areas. They include: Castetto, a hillside settlement active between the Middle and the Late Bronze Age; Felina, situated at the crossroads of a network of routes which ran along the mountain ridges during the Late Bronze Age; Torlonia Sopra, a strategic settlement consisting of a few huts which controlled access to the Enza river valley in the advanced Late Bronze Age; Campo Pianelli, situated in the heart of the mountains and inhabited since the Middle Bronze Age and featuring the characteristics of both of the preceding sites.
    The Bronze Age displays are completed by three necropolises.
    They include: Montata, one of the largest Terramare cremation burial sites; Campo Pianelli, with a wealth of items from the Final Bronze Age; and Case Pantani consisting of just two tombs, these being the most recent known ones in Emilia.
    Exhibits from the Iron Age are featured in the display cases in the museum’s north wing.
    The earliest items (from the second half of the 7th century BC) suggest a setting with strongly historical connotations, marked by a highly advanced constitutional and organizational structure. We are presented with a strongly variegated ethnic panorama in which the Etruscans seemed to hold a privileged position. They lived together with other peoples such as the Ligurians, to whom we can ascribe at least one funerary set from Mancasale (c. 600 BC).
    The high standard of some of the funerary items (from Brescello and Rubiera) tokens a society in which a narrow class of rulers had a firm hold on power. The figures decorating the Etruscan funerary stones (cippi) from Rubiera are distinctively Eastern in style and the extensive inscriptions on the stones prove that the Etruscans had already acquired the art of writing by the late 7th century BC. A bronze cauldron dating from a few decades later can also be attributed to a princely tomb belonging to the same burial site. The exhibits displayed in two corner cabinets come from two wells found on the shore of the Secchia river, used for the water supply.
    The exhibits from the 6th century BC come from hut villages, most of which had production facilities (such as San Claudio, just outside the gates of Reggio Emilia).
    The graveyards provide evidence of funeral rites relating to both cremation and burial. The funerary items (burial grounds of Corticella, Campegine, Correggio, Baragalla, Bettolino and Fornaci di Sant’Ilario), particularly the ornaments and clothing, are reminiscent of the finds excavated in eastern Lombardy dating to the same period.
    For the 5th century, the heyday of the Iron Age, we have evidence of human settlements, frequently equipped with wells (Burrasca di Sant’Ilario) and pottery kilns with chimneys (Casale di Rivalta). A funerary set from Poggio Vendina di Quattro Castella provides one of the few pieces of evidence of 5th-century funerary rites.
    Among the handful of Etruscan inscriptions found so far is a graffiti on a bowl from Monte Pezzola which could suggest the Etruscan name of the city of Modena (Mutna). A number of simple votive bronze statuettes, mostly in prayer, and numerous miniature vases testify to the cults practised in rural environments.
    The evidence from the Hellenistic period (3rd-1st centuries BC) comes from small burial grounds that can be ascribed to the Eastern Ligurians at the time of their confrontation with Rome. Ossuaries held in stone chests (Villa Baroni, Bosco Cernaieto and Villa Manodori) provide a testimony of their cremation rites.
    Votive bronzes from Casale – Rivalta (fifth century BC) Huddled up skeleton of individual female has to accompany a ceramic vase, a bone awl and a necklace with tiny beads of steatite.
    From the site of Chiozza, Scandiano (Middle Neolithic) The Etruscan funerary stone n. 2 from Rubiera (early sixth century BC).
    Particular the ornaments and clothing are reminiscent of the finds excavated in eastern Lombardy, dating to the same period.
    For the 5th century, the heyday of the Iron Age, we have evidence of human settlements, frequently equipped with wells (Burrasca di Sant’Ilario) and pottery kilns with chimneys (Casale di Rivalta). A funerary set from Poggio Vendina di Quattro Castella provides one of the few pieces of evidence of 5th-century funerary rites.
    Among the handful of Etruscan inscriptions found so far is a graffiti on a bowl from Monte Pezzola which could suggest the Etruscan name of the city of Modena (Mutna). A number of simple votive bronze statuettes, mostly in prayer, and numerous miniature vases testify to the cults practised in rural environments.
    The evidence from the Hellenistic period (3rd-1st centuries BC) comes from small burial grounds that can be ascribed to the Eastern Ligurians at the time of their confrontation with Rome. Ossuaries held in stone chests (Villa Baroni, Bosco Cernaieto and Villa Manodori) provide a testimony of their cremation rites.

address

via Spallanzani, 1
42121 Reggio Emilia
T. +39 0522 456816

offices
via Palazzolo, 2
42121 Reggio Emilia
T. +39 0522 456477
F. ’39 0522 456476

opening times