Under the same sun. Europa 2500-1800 BC
This exhibition is dedicated to the intense cultural relationships that affected central,western and southern Europe between the end of the Copper Age and the beginning ofthe Bronze Age, a period full of transformations, technological achievements and socialand economic changes. In the year of Bergamo and Brescia as Italian Capital of Culture, three museums of Brescia province have joined together to tell this story. The Museo Archeologico della Valle Sabbia of Gavardo, the "Giovanni Rambotti" Civic Archaeological Museum of Desenzano del Garda, through their collections, shed light on the most characteristic aspects of this period: the phenomenon of the bell beaker, the diffusion of particular objects such as “rod-shaped” pendants, faience necklace beads, archer's wrist guards and the famous enigmatic tablets. At the MUPRE in Capo di Ponte, starting with the "lunula" of Blessington (Ireland), a prestigious prehistoric goldsmith masterpiece on loan from the British Museum, the gaze moves to the "lunulae" from northern Italian contexts.
|A beaker, a symbol across Europe
The Bell Beaker (Vaso campaniforme in Italian, Gobelet Campaniforme in French, Glockenbecher in German) is a vase whose shape resembles an overturned bell. The very rich decoration, arranged in horizontal bands, obtained with different techniques (impression, engraving), and organized according to different styles, is characteristic.The Bell Beaker, often associated with other elements that make up the so-called BellBeaker "set" (archer's wrist guards, arrowheads, copper dagger and ornamental objects) represents one of the most impressive phenomena of European prehistory. In a very short time, at the end of the Copper Age (second half of the 3rd millennium BC), this vase saw a wide diffusion in the European continent, from Scotland to Sicily, from Portugal to Poland, also reaching the coasts of North Africa. There have been several interpretations of this phenomenon: from an emblem of an invading people to a symbol of wealth of an elite, to an element of a ritual nature and finally to a container intended to conserve fermented drinks. In reality, even today, its meaning escapes.
|A small pendant walking around Europe
During the Bell Beaker age, a particular type of pendant made of bone or deer antlers appears, called a “rod-shaped”, or "Montgomery" pendant, which also persists in the following Early Bronze Age. It was not made of precious material, but must have had a strong symbolic value, so much so that it has a wide diffusion in Europe and a persistence over time, in very different cultural environments. The pendant is present, often in numerous specimens, in sepulchral contexts, such as in the kits of some Trentino burials, but also in Sardinia and in Bell Beaker contexts between Thuringia and the Rhineland and in some burial mounds in eastern France. Its diffusion touches some caves of southern Italy and France. Examples are even known in Greece. This small object is particularly
present in the Lake Garda pile-dwellings. Several items have been found in Lucone (Polpenazze del Garda), Lavagnone (Desenzano del Garda), Porto Galeazzi (Sirmione) and Polada (Lonato).
|Water green, sky blue necklaces
Towards the end of the III Millennium B.C. in Europe necklace beads made of a particular substance called faience begin to circulate, a sort of siliceous paste with a glassy surface, which can be considered the ancestor of glass. The lively blue-green colour, given by the copper powder, and the iridescence produced by the vitrification made these objects
particularly sought after. Beads are mainly present in north-western Europe (England and Brittany) and in central Europe (Bohemia, Moravia, Slovakia, Austria, northern Italy) starting from the early Bronze
Age phases. In northern Italy these beads are known in a few sites, among which 4 pile dwellings stand out: Lucone, Lavagnone, Bande di Cavriana and Cavaion Veronese.This technique had already been known in the East for two millennia, but it is not witnessed, except from the Middle Bronze Age, in the central Mediterranean. Was the European one therefore an independent production? Or this technique arrived along the Danube valley and not through the Mediterranean?
|The enigma of the tablets
The tablets are small terracotta artifacts, less commonly in stone and bone, with a flattened shape, generally oval or rectangular, on which various types of signs are impressed, often arranged in horizontal lines. More than 300 are known and they come almost exclusively from Italy, central-eastern Europe and the lower Danube area.Known for more than a century, these objects have been defined in many ways over time.
The most common are the German Brotlaibidole (little bread-shaped idols) and Enigmatic tablets, an Italian term coined by Piero Simoni in 1966.The presence of recurring symbols, repeated sequences and syntax suggested the presence of a code intended for a small group of people. They could also be a sort of calendar, an accounting record or have a ritual meaning. However, it is a fact that, in
general, they are found in settlement areas where there are productive activities (metallurgical), or imported artifacts (such as Nordic amber). Lucone di Polpenazze is currently the site that has yielded the largest number of these artifacts, followed by Bande di Cavriana.