Chapter

Italy in Prehistory

Gary Forsythe

in A Critical History of Early Rome

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2005 | ISBN: 9780520226517
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520940291 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520226517.003.0002
Italy in Prehistory

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This chapter examines the prehistoric background of Italy. The Italian peninsula, measuring 116,372 square miles, exhibits great diversity of mountains, plain, and hill country, which frequently exist together in the same locale. The other major area of Italy is the peninsula south of the Po Valley. Italy's complex geography fostered the growth of cultural and linguistic diversity, which is perhaps best illustrated by a map showing the distribution of languages in pre-Roman times. The material remains of prehistoric peoples uncovered by archaeology can usually provide only a partial picture of past cultures. The body of the Ice Man is almost fully preserved, and scientists have begun to study his internal anatomy in detail. Its remarkable state of preservation offers unique insights into the living conditions and technology of his culture. Finally, the ancient languages and modern archaeology are discussed.

Keywords: Italy; prehistory; ancient languages; archaeology; Ice Man; geography

Chapter.  8512 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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