100 Thousand years in Liguria

100 Thousand years in Liguria - (Ground floor, west side)

This story begins in the caves of Liguria, a sheltered space where archaeological sites have lain protected for thousands of years from the weather and other dangers. For over 200,000 years  Neanderthals inhabited Europe including the caves of the Ligurian west, contending these shelters with bears, lions and other predators, as can be seen from the material displayed in the first displaycase. Our species, Sapiens, arrived in Europe about 40,000 years ago bringing with them more effective hunting weapons and better problem solving skills: shortly after the arrival of modern man, Neanderthals disappear forever.

The second display case recounts the story of the inhabitants of Liguria since the "Neolithic Revolution" when groups of pioneer farmers and herders cross the Mediterranean bringing with them cereals, domesticated animals, new techniques and tools. They arrived in Liguria about 7800 years ago and soon revolutionized every aspect of the life of local hunter/gatherers. From this moment on, human groups begin to profoundly change the environment starting a process that has not yet ended.

Contact with, first, the Etruscans and Greeks and then the clash with Rome transform the Ligurian landscape and Roman cities such as Genoa, Luni, Ventimiglia, Libarna are founded. They have the characteristics present throughout the Roman empire with a forum, temples, basilicas, theatre, amphitheatre, spas and roads such as via Iulia Augusta and via Postumia in Liguria. Through these streets and ports, goods arrive from and depart to the entire empire: ceramics, glass, fabrics, cosmetics, marble.


The treasures of the Tyrrhenian Sea 

The Tyrrhenian area is extraordinarily rich in raw materials: green stone, obsidian, marble, jasper, copper, which for over 7,000 years were sought and then transported over land and sea routes to be used to create famous works of art around the world. In this room it is possible to discover their characteristics, see them and hold them in your hands.

In the Genoa area, the first human presence is a grain of wheat cultivated between 5470 and 5220 years BC. At a depth of over 20 meters below what is now Piazza della Vittoria. In the 7th century, the city was a landing place for Etruscan ships and an important junction between the Tyrrhenian routes and the land routes controlled by the Ligurian tribes of the Genoese hinterland. The port, was the base for the Roman fleet during the wars against the Carthaginians, and remained important even after the reconstruction of Genoa, the point of passage of the legions and goods towards the Po Valley even in the late empire, when Milan had become the capital of the Roman Empire, Genoa was it’s Tyrrhenian port: numerous artefacts from Roman shipwrecks, such as those shown in the first display case of this room, offer valuable information on trade routes in the Tyrrhenian Sea.