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The prehistoric collection

As if the classical ruins were not enough…

The traditional image of Paestum is that of an ancient Greek city with its splendid temples and massive walls. However, the limestone shelf on which Poseidonia was built had been inhabited since prehistoric times when nomadic populations lived by hunting and gathering in a continuous search for resources.


When the most important material for tools became metal, which was mined and made into a molten alloy, new roles emerged such as smiths and metalworkers. Pastoralism became increasingly important, as is shown by pottery vessels such as boilers, containers for storing rennet and keeping cheeses.


On 9 September 1943 Allied troops landed on the coast of Italy. During the work to build a military airport in the Spina-Gaudo area, they used a bed of limestone as a mine which turned out to be a large late Neolithic and early Bronze Age cemetery. The cemetery was explored by an archaeological team led by Lt J.G.S. Brinson. The importance of the discovery is shown by the fact that the cemetery gave its name to an entire prehistoric culture: the “Gaudo culture”.
The tombs had a clear layout: a vertical shaft at the entrance led to one or two burial chambers sealed by a travertine slab. The tombs were reopened periodically for new burials or to alter existing burials.