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THE UNDERGROUND LEVEL OF THE DUCAL COURTYARD:
PREHISTORIC SECTION OF THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM


THE NEOLITHIC AGE

Northern Italy (6th - 4th millennia BC)
The prehistoric section of the archaeological museum offers an overview of the Neolithic Age, a time when important economical changes occurred. The period, in fact, saw the switch from hunting to agriculture and stock breeding, which led to the establishment of the first villages and farming communities. Neolithic people also improved ceramics manufacturing, spinning and stone dressing techniques. Innovations in Neolithic Italy were mainly linked to the Engraved Ceramics culture, which first imposed itself in the south (7th millennium BC) and then in the north (6th millennium BC). Early Neolithic northern Italy was characterised by regional cultures very open to each other and ready to exchange simple, basic commodities. The Square Mouth Jar culture imposed itself at the height of the Neolithic Age, around the 5th millennium BC. This tradition seems to be a homogeneous unity throughout northern Italy until the late Neolithic (first half of the 4th millennium BC). It survived only in the east, whereas the Lagozza culture, which shows traces of cultural influences from the south of France, was widely spread in the western areas.

Findings from the Lagozza culture of Besnate (near Varese), dating from the first half of the 4th millennium B.C.
Stone dressing
A wide range of chipped and dressed stone tools from a number of archaeological sites in northern Italy illustrate stone dressing techniques which were mainly used in the period between the 6th and 4th millennia BC. Tools were generally made out of flint and stone. The commonest shaping technique was by chipping but Neolithic people also introduced a method of grinding which resulted in a smooth, polished surface. Water, sand and straw were also used to this aim. Stone axes and hatchets with handles consisting of sticks were used for wood processing and deforestation of the areas intended for agricultural activities.
   

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Castello Sforzesco - Piazza Castello   20121 MILAN