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We are used to thinking of Paestum as a city founded by the Greeks which then became Lucanian and later Roman, but the traces of the first human settlements in the area actually date back to Prehistory.

This is evidenced by the artefacts dating from the Palaeolithic to the Bronze Age found east of the Basilica, the remains of huts discovered near the Gate of Justice, and the Neolithic remains found in the area of the Temple of Ceres.

Indeed, exactly on the gentle slopes where the Temple of Ceres and the Basilica stand out now, in the Aeneolithic period (i.e. around the 3rd millennium BC), lay two small villages, separated by a stream that flowed where the Forum is now.

A people of Anatolian Aegean origin settled there, called the Gaudo Culture from the hamlet of Spina-Gaudo, just north of Paestum, where their necropolis was unearthed in 1943.

A completely random discovery: indeed, the Allied troops, recently landed in Salerno, wanted to build an aircraft landing strip there.