The early Neolithic communities of the Mediterranean coast of Europe, named after the practice of ornamenting pottery with impressions of cardium shells and other items (impressed ware). Though there is evidence for the introduction of agriculture, hunting and fishing remained an important aspect of the culture, and its stone and flint industries retained some characteristic Mesolithic types. Generally dated to the period 5000–3500 bc. Early sites tend to be in caves and rock‐shelters or, on the coast, associated with shell middens. Sheep are the main domesticated animal species. In the later stages open settlements become common and in Italy these are enclosed by ditch systems (the so‐called villaggi trincerati). Other types of pottery are found alongside the impressed wares at this stage, including fine red painted ware in Italy.