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History of the Museum

The Civic Museum of Palaeontology and Palaeo-ethonology of Maglie The Civic Museum of Palaeontology and Palaeo-ethonology of Maglie was instituted in 1960 by the Salento Speleological Group, a corporation established in 1955 in Maglie. The Museum was designated a non-public, Minor Museum by an Interministerial Decree in 1965.

With the strong support of the Italian Institute of Human Paleontology, specifically Gian Alberto and Alberto Carlo Blanc, the Museum was the natural product of a long-lasting research carried out in this territory, performed by local residents with a special interest in paleontology as well as Italian specialists, including the two Blancs, Antonio Lazzari, Paolo Graziosi, Antonio Mario Radmilli, Giuliano Cremonesi and Decio de Lorentiis.

Dedicated exclusively to various pre-historical itineraries, its collections, the result of some fundamental archaeological discoveries, important donations and gifts, have made it the cultural-scientific reference of its kind for a large part of southern Italy, and therefore visited by students from Puglia, Basilicata and Campania; the evidence of wildlife from the Late Pleistocene Era (120-10 thousand years ago), in an excellent state of preservation have indeed made it an essential stop for students and scholars from all over Italy as well as from other countries.

The main protagonist of this ancient world is Man, with the lithic instruments and bones of the Neanderthal and the Sapiens sapiens man, found in deposits that have become fundamental for studies of the middle and upper Paleolithic Age in southern Italy, such as the Grotta Romanelli, Cattìe site of Maglie, Grotte delle Prazziche and delle Cipolliane in Gagliano del Capo, reconstructing Man’s daily life and showing the most ancient forms of art, rich in content, delineating the fundamental stages of Man’s evolution.

Pottery and stone items manufactured by the first Neolithic farmers and subsequent races that frequented the area of the Alimini Lakes, S. Maria della Grotta in Presicce, Maglie and Scorrano, La Falconiera in Supersano and other sites from the Salento area, introduce multi-faceted spheres of ideology and daily life of man at the start of history, marked by funeral rites, the Gods of water and land, high menhirs and long friendship with Mycenaean seamen. The whole route is peppered with graphical reconstructions of large animals from the past and from the marks left by man, over 6000 years ago, in the splendid scenery of the Grotta dei Cervi in Porto Badisco; multimedia stations, drawers for opening, openings to peak into, with educational-informational panels, actively involving the visitor in this passionate journey back through time, to discover a prehistoric Salento full of fascination and mystery.

Since 1999, the exhibition areas on the ground floor of Sticchi Palace in Vittorio Emanuele street, has been designed to serve as the seu of Territory, as scholars of this area designated it since its inception, along with the F. Piccinno Municipal Library, constituting the cultural city complex known as L'Alca. This complex contains finds from all over the lower Salento area, narrating a story that extends beyond the administrative borders of the city of Maglie.

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