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Malpensa- Transdanubia-Mycenae : aspects of the contacts between Italy, Carpathian Basin and Greece in the LH III C.

2020 - Istituto italiano di preistoria e protostoria

P. 275-292

  • In this paper some aspects of the contacts between the Carpathian Basin, northern Italy and Greece during the LH III C Middle and Late/FBA1 are considered. The starting point of the analysis is the Malpensa hoard, which contains three bronze sheet greaves with wire loops. One greave is decorated with the solar wheel (Lengyeltóti type), another with stylized ornithomorphic head (Desmontà type). These two types are contemporary and they are widespread from the western Carpathian Basin to the upper Danube area and to Northern Italy. All the available contexts indicate a date to the Ha A 1-FBA 1. Two greaves with wire loops and decorated with the solar wheel have been found in a chamber tomb on the southern slopes of the Athenian Acropolis. The greaves of this type are completely unrelated to the local context and we can hypothesize a provenance from the Carpathian Basin or from Northern Italy.
  • Great importance for connections between Italian FBA 1 and Mycenaean Greece has the medial winged axe from the Malpensa hoard, because a stone mould for an axe belonging to this type has been found in the Oil Merchant's House in Mycenae. This mould poses three questions: 1. the area of origin of the axe that could be obtained from the matrix; 2. the chronology of this winged axe type; 3. the context of the mould discovered in Mycenae. We can easily observe that the medial winged axes to the north of the Alps have a different form compared to the Italian ones and that the axe from the mould from Mycenae is undoubtedly Italian. To define its precise chronology we must take into account the general picture of the medial winged axes in Italy.
  • The analysis carried out from the Author shows that in the Northern Italy RBA there were eight types of median winged axes, widespread above all in Trentino, in the Garda lake region and in the terramare area. The median winged axes from the Malpensa hoard and from the mould of the Oil Merchant's House belong to a type later than the end of the RBA and dating to the FBA 1/Ha A 1, as confirmed by the available contexts (Mariconda village, Malpensa hoard, Surbo hoard, Ortucchio grave, Osternienburg tomb). The distribution map of the Malpensa-Ortucchio axes shows a completely different situation: the so-called palafitticola-terramaricola area is empty, while the greatest concentration is in Central Italy. Finally, it is necessary to remember that the destruction of the Merchant Oil House is currently dated to LH III B 1 or to the middle LH III B, a chronological horizon that is prior to the FBA 1.
  • The mould has not be found on the floor, but in the burnt debris, the reason why some Authors have assumed that the mould was on the upper floor of the building. That a mould would be on the upper floor in a room with frescoes is hard to believe. Unfortunately, the published sections of the excavations do not highlight the stratigraphic units. Above the ruins of the House were found in 1950 a few pieces of LH III C pottery and a few dozen meters N-NE of the house at the depth of 20 cm below the surface remains of a smelter hoard were found. Therefore, we believe that the mould is intrusive in the destruction level of the house. It cannot be surprising that it finished among the collapse materials, following post-depositional events. [Publisher's text]

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Rivista di scienze preistoriche : LXX, S1, 2020