The Piana Campana and the MANN
Many ancient historians have handed down conflicting stories about the peoples who inhabited the Piana Campana, their dominating forces, and the myths linked to their origins: each author, in fact, was deeply conditioned both by the nature of the information collected and by the need of being understood and appreciated by his contemporaries. Based on these accounts, nowadays archaeologists and historians try to interpret the findings, looking for possible relationships between funerary rituals, the form of an object, and certain “ethnic” characteristics in specific historical phases.
In the Piana Campana, indigenous populations structured flourishing settlements from the Neolithic, without interruption, to the contemporary period, always maintaining relationships with the rest of the peninsula and the Mediterranean Sea. In such a complex context, interpretative categories are continually questioned by the wealth of archaeological data, which always raise new questions. This exhibition aims to create a dialogue between the data of the excavations conducted between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, including the search for ancient finds on the antiquary market now merged into the Museum’s collections, and the extraordinary evidence discovered through extensive excavations conducted by the Soprintendenza di Napoli e Caserta from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s, with the objective of broadening our understanding of regional history. The necessity of operating in very extensive areas containing massive public works projects, in fact, have given impetus to the transition from “recovery archeology” to “preventive archeology” that plans preliminary investigations for the execution of programmed interventions. This preliminary research is proportionate to the overall extent of the public work, to available economic and professional resources, and to the timeline for their completion.
In particular, in the area of Gricignano di Aversa and Carinaro in the province of Caserta, the extensive excavations carried out since the mid-1990s, for the constructions of the US Navy military base and the Rome-Naples High Speed railway line revealed traces of an intense frequentation starting from the final Neolithic (late 5th-early 4th millennium BCE) to the Roman period. A selection of archaeological contexts from the Early Bronze Age to the Early Archaic period is exhibited here for the first time, with the eighteenth and nineteenth century excavations in the Museum’s collections, to trace a new path of knowledge of this extraordinary region of the ancient world.