|26 March 2006
Ancient Enotrian site to be explored in Italy
A very rare example of surviving pre-Greek settlement in southern Italy is to be excavated and explored. The site, at Molpa in the hills above Palinuro south of Naples, is believed to contain the remains of a large village of the Enotrians, the earliest known inhabitants of Calabria and southern Campania.
The Greeks who settled across southern Italy from 700 BCE to create Magna Graecia had an idealised vision of the Enotrians ('wine lovers') as coming from the Eden-like land of Arcadia. In reality, they probably came from eastern Europe and moved down into a large swathe of southern Italy from 1000 BCE.
Most histories of Italy, based on ancient Greek texts, portray southern Italy as virgin territory. Recent discoveries about the Enotrians have refuted this myth. A dig at another Enotrian site, in Campania, has uncovered evidence that the Greek colonists owed their wealth to exploiting prosperous native villages. The settlement, on a hill called Timpone della Motta, had a large necropolis and a monumental sanctuary.
The finds from huts, graves and the sanctuary of the Enotrians point to the organized production of bronze cauldrons, decorated pots made on the potter's wheel, olive oil and wine long before the arrival of the Greeks. One of the last kings of the Enotrians, Italo or Italos, is said to have changed his kingdom's name from Enotria to Italia - the name eventually adopted for the whole Country.
Source: ANSA (20 March 2006)
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