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Durante la prima età del bronzo, e cioè nel corso della prima metà del secondo millennio a.C., fiorisce nella Sicilia sud-orientale la cultura di Castelluccio.

tombe a finti pilastri (Castelluccio)

Essa prende il nome dall`insediamento situato su uno degli speroni del margine meridionale dell`altipiano acrense, in territorio di Noto.

Nella piccola valle a fianco del villaggio, la Cava della Signora, si trova la più vasta necropoli di questa facies culturale, costituita da 176 tombe a grotticella artificiale a forma di forno.

                                              tombe a forma di forno
                                                                       TOMBE A FORMA DI FORNO 

Alcune tombe avevano l`apertura chiusa con lastre di calcare scolpite con figurazioni simboliche spiraliformi , una rara testimonianza di scultura preistorica in Sicilia.

figura.jpg (117337 byte) 

Porta di una tomba con

Una sola tomba è preceduta all`esterno da un piccolo portico a quattro pilastri scolpiti nella viva roccia.
Sono stati scoperti in tutta la Sicilia orientale, meridionale e centrale numerosissimi insediamenti riferibili a questa cultura: Calicantoni e Cava Lazzaro (Modica), Petraro (Villasmundo), Branco Grande (S. Croce), Monte Casale, S. Basilio (Scordia). Interessante è l`insediamento di Manfria (Gela) per il rinvenimento di un gruppo di capanne di forma più o meno ovaleggiante, nelle quali fori perimetrali per l`inserzione di pali rivelano una struttura lignea.
L`economia di questa età sembra basata essenzialmente sull`agricoltura e sulla pastorizia, ma anche talvolta sullo sfruttamento di altre risorse locali: a Petraro si producevano macine, a Monte Sallia (Comiso) strumenti di selce. Vi erano dunque artigiani organizzati ed un commercio interno fra villaggio e villaggio. Ma la posizione di questi insediamenti non sembra invece rivelare una forte rilevanza dei commerci marittimi, che sembra fosse, in questo periodo, monopolio di Malta. Non sono state rinvenute ceramiche dipinte protomicenee in insediamenti castellucciani, mentre sono abbondanti a Lipari.
La cultura di Castelluccio ha avuto una lunga durata, forse più di cinque secoli.

The Castelluccio Culture is a Bronze Age (2000-1400 BC) culture of Sicily, and the name of the type site. Excavations indicate a predominantly pastoral economy whose people are best known for their distinctive ceramic vessels, composed of long graceful jars with complex linear patterns on black-painted, red-slipped wares. The sites always include a terra cotta horn (corno fittile).


Humans were present in Sicily at the end of the Pleistocene Epoch, about 70,000-50,000 years ago. Cave drawings confirm a presence by 10000 BC, if not earlier, and there is no evidence to suggest anything but a continuous presence since that period. In general terms, early Sicily may be represented by the following periods:

8000 BC - early settlements and cave drawings in coastal areas such as Addaura (near Palermo).

3000 BC - use of copper tools in certain localities, probably reflecting non-Sicilian influences.

2500 BC - use of bronze throughout "Proto-Sicanian" Sicily; contact with foreign cultures.

1600 BC - presence of an identifiable, distinct "Sicanian" culture across Sicily.

1200 BC - arrival of Sicels in eastern coastal areas, encouraging Sican migration westward.

There is little evidence that the Sicanians ever made wide use of any written language before the introduction of the Phoenician alphabet (shown here with the Greek and Early Roman alphabets), which they wrote from right to left. (Mycenean script has been found on some pieces of pottery.) On a pre-historic level, it seems probable that they were descended, for the most part, from Sicily's Bronze Age inhabitants. Indeed, the Sicans probably represented the main group descended from these first indigenous Sicilians. The theory of the Sicanians' Iberian origin is supported by a rather few linguistic factors thought to be shared with early Iberian tongues, though the evidence is hardly conclusive. The name of Spain's ancient Sicano River has been cited to suggest a common link, but it could be merely coincidental. It was the Greek historian Thucydides who first suggested Iberian roots, yet his authority for this is not known. That said, the best (and most recent) scholarly position is that the Sicanians were indeed natives of Sicily, while the Sicels immigrated from mainland Italy (possibly from Liguria, Latium or even Alpine regions) and the Elymians from the Asian regions of the eastern Mediterranean, perhaps via northern Africa.

During the Early Bronze Age, the Iblean region of Sicily was involved in a constant range of overseas contacts, as is proved by the imported objects found in numerous Castellucian necropoleis in this area.  These contacts are attested from the beginning of the Early Bronze Age, as Ognina materials, which have substantial links with the cultures of Southern Italy, the Balkans and the Western Peloponnese, demonstrate.  These contacts caused the growth of social complexity and of intra-society competition, in an advanced phase of the period, and led to the emergence of the Thapsos culture.

migrazioni IN SICILIA

Though largely hypothetical, a logical theory has been advanced that the Sicanians were not initially part of any Indo-European population, though recent discoveries imply at least isolated contact with some Mycenean and Minoan cultures --probably on the basis of trade. Living independently of other societies, the earliest Sicani naturally would have developed as a unique population lacking clearly-defined cultural links to the Indo-European cultures of Italy, Greece and the eastern Mediterranean. (In this way they were similar to the earliest Iberians.) The Sicanians' name probably derives from the chalcedony called "sica" found in some of the areas they inhabited, and from which they styled tools in the Neolithic era. An Iron Age presence is indicated at Gela, Sant' Angelo Muxaro and other sites in the Agrigento area. The Minoan and Mycenean links explain possible similarities of the Thapsos and Castellucio cultures to Aegean ones.

That the Sicans apparently assimilated more rapidly and easily than the Sicels with the colonising Greeks suggests at least some affinity, if not commonality, between Sicanian and Hellenistic culture. This peaceful amalgamation took just a few centuries, from about 700 BC to 400 BC, and before long many Sicanian cities were essentially Greek. Our knowledge of this gradual union of Sicanian and Hellenistic culture is primarily archeological. Even today, the actual sites of ancient Sicilian localities (including Sicanian settlements) mentioned in Greek and Roman accounts are occasionally discovered and identified. A future find could yield greater information about the Sicanians.

Despite literary references to the contrary, there is little evidence to suggest a strong central government (or monarchy) among the Sicanians. Like the cities of Phoenicia and Greece, the Sicanian settlements were probably independent, or at least quasi-autonomous, forming a very loose confederation. There appears to have been little, if any, open conflict with the Sicels to the east and the Elymians to the northwest, though the arrival of each seems to have encouraged the Sicanians to migrate toward other areas.

Before the arrival of the Sicels, the Sicanians (or the prehistoric predecessor culture from which they emerged) probably occupied most of Sicily, though they were hardly isolated. Localised distinctions and "foreign" influences are often mentioned. For example, similarities of southeastern Sicilian prehistoric cultures to Maltese, Mycenean, Minoan or north African ones, or similarities between the cultures of northeastern Sicily and the Lipari Island cultures having links to mainland Italic ones. Much has been discovered of Sicily's Bronze Age (2500-1250 BC) societies, with the southeast Sicilian Thapsos and Castellucian cultures the object of much study in the last few decades.