Situated on the south east
coast of the island, Grotta delle Felci provides important archaeological
evidence of prehistoric activity on Capri and in Southern Italy in general.
The first studies of the area by Ignazio
Cerio at the end of the 9th century caused considerable stir in the scientific
community of the time. In fact, fragmented observation of the excavations
showed that the surface layer contained both modern pottery and Roman
and Bronze Age ceramics - a clear sign of uninterrupted inhabitation of
Below surface level, other strata provided
material from the Bronze Age (1700–1000 BC), while further down Neolithic
(4000–3500 BC) findings were uncovered. Approximately six metres below
these last layers, sandy and volcanic strata provided a fauna of cervids
and ground molluscs, while clefts in the north west part of the cavern
were filled with rich Neolithic tombs.
The obvious ritual function of Grotta delle
Felci was further emphasized by the finding of stone amulets decorated
with magical and religious depictions as well as highly refined ceramics.
Grotto of Ferns retained its sacred role
for the whole of the prehistoric age as findings also included a large,
precious flint dagger from the Aeneolithic age (3500-2300 BC) and richly
decorated Bronze Age vases.