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Sandstone pebble with anthropomorphic figure (Neolithic). “Ignazio Cerio” Museum.

Neolithic ceramic vase. “Ignazio Cerio” Museum.

      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 the site.
      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.

 (texts by Claudio Giardino - fhotographs by Marco Amitrano)