Paleolithic and Neolithic Rock Carvings in Sicily
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A great number of caves found along the northwest coast of Sicily have rock paintings that reveal the presence of hunters and gatherers from as early on as the Upper Paleolithic period.


The most important cycle is the one discovered on Levanzo Island, in the Cala del Genovese cave, the only one that can be exactly dated (to 9230 B.C.). These very fine paintings depict 32 figures of Pleistocene animals: cattle, deer and horses in extremely natural style, almost invariably in single stroke and practically always executed with a movement indicating knowledge of perspective.



The finest and most interesting discovery, however, was made in the Addaura cave, opening into sheer space on Monte Pellegrino, near Palermo. In these paintings, the most attractive and skillful examples of Sicilian prehistoric art, is the human figure which predominates. The subjects are outlined in profile or else three-quarters on. Some of these figures, moreover, are in the act of moving their heads, crowned with a mask or headdress.

Other interesting paintings, mainly of animals, some of which are in groups, can be seen in the Niscemi cave on Monte Pellegrino, the Puntali cave and the Giovanna, to be found near "Za Minica". In Neolithic rock art these paintings are largely symbolic, and the naturalism that is typical of Paleolithic art has here been discarded. It may only be a matter of chance, but the most important figurative series as far as this particular period is concerned in the Cala del Genovese cave at Levanzo, on the same walls where Paleolithic man carved his figures. All the black painted figures are schematic and symbolic. Few instances of plastic art in prehistoric times have been found, although two small female figures sculptured from river stones and datable to the Copper Age came to light at Cozzo Busonè.

The bas-relief decoration of the stone coffin lids in the Castelluccio necropolis date instead to the Bronze Age.

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