The Latial culture (Italian Cultura laziale), formerly southern Villanovan, is a variant of the archaeological Villanovan culture. The Latial ranged approximately over ancient Latium (from which modern Lazio descends). The Iron-Age Latial culture succeeded the Bronze-Age Apennine culture and is considered to end after the Villanovan with the appearance in history of a state called Latium, populated by a people speaking Old Latin. The culture is likely therefore to identify a phase of the socio-political self-consciousness of the Latin people. It coincides roughly with the legendary period of the Latin kings of Alba Longa and the foundation and monarchy of Rome.
The Latial is diagnosed by the hut-urn. Where Villanovan cremation urns are plain, biconical and were buried in a deep shaft, the hut-urn is a round or square model of a hut with a peaked roof and a door leading to the interior of one side. Cremation was not an exclusive rite; it shared the funerary conventions with inhumation, with decreasing frequency as the period progressed; however, the artifact assemblage with which it is associated is distinctive. The hut-urns correspond to the huts in which the population for the most part lived, although during the period they developed the use of stone for temples and other public buildings.
The Apennine culture of Latium transitioned smoothly into the Latial with no evidence of an intrusive population movement. The population generally abandoned sites of purely economic advantage in favor of defensible sites, the locations of future cities, about which they clustered; hence the term pre-urban. This population movement may indicate an increase in marauding.
|Period||Date BC||Other names||Phase|
|Latial or LC (Latial Culture) I||1000-900||Proto-Villanovan, Final Bronze Age||Pre-urban|
|LCIIA||900-830||Early Iron Age, Villanovan||Pre-urban|
|LCIIB||830-770||Early Iron Age, Villanovan||Proto-urban|
|LCIII||770-730||Early Iron Age, Villanovan||Proto-urban|
|LCIVA||730-630||Early & Middle Orientalizing||Proto-urban|
|LCIVB||630-580||Late Orientalizing||Archaic urban|
Latial I is concentrated in the Rome region, the Alban Hills and the Monti della Tolfa. Evidence is mainly funerary from necropoleis (cemeteries). Cremation was the predominant rite. Cremation burials consist of a hut-urn with ashes of the deceased placed in a dolium (large jar) with some other vessels used for food offerings. Pottery is undecorated. Instead of a hut-urn a vase with a cone-like roof or simulated helmet may be used. The dolium was placed in a stone-lined pozzo (hole) and commemorated above-ground.
For grave goods, spindle-whorls identify females and miniature armor and weapons, males. Statuettes, some with hands outstretched, may be present.
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