Rome was a late bloomer. If we could go back in time to the Rome of about a thousand BC, we would find little to rival the great near eastern civilizations of the fourth millennium, that is the period between 4000 and 3000 BC or BCE. Rome had a great location to become a major center for trade and communication. Italy looks like a long boot, and running down its spine are the Apennine Mountains, which can rise up as high as 10,000 feet in the North Central part of the country. Much of the Eastern coast can be inhospitable to ships, and therefore, also to trade, due to the rocky and mountainous areas. You have to go up to Ancona in Venice in the northeast arch of Italy, or down to Bowery further south to find good, eastern harbors. That's one of the reasons why these areas became so important. In southern Italy, the Apennines split into two mountain ranges. One giving out in the heel of Italy, and the other ending near the toe. So a great deal of trade and urban development was forced by the configuration of the land to center around western Italy. The period of time when a cultural group known as the Villanovans were arriving from Central Europe, the Greeks were colonizing the southern part of Italy and Rome was beginning to grow, is known as the geometric period. And it lasted from approximately a 1000 BC to around 675 BC. The Romans belonged to a group of people who had made settlements around the area of Rome at a number of sites. They were known as the Latins or the Latial culture, L-A-T-I-A-L, Latial culture to archeologists. And the general area of their tribal affiliation is known as Latium. North of the Romans, well north of them, and the broader area of Latium, there were also vast resources of metal, that became increasingly exploited after 1,000 BCE. And south of Rome, there were good harbors and fertile lands which could allow settlers. This southern area, including Sicily, became increasingly settled by Greeks who were emigrating from their native lands for a variety of reasons, warfare, famines, trade, or just high adventure. The southern part of Italy eventually became referred to as greater Greece. What they called Magna Grecia, so populous were it's new settlers. Now, north of Rome there were settlers coming down from central Europe to find fertile lands, and to exploit the metal resources of those sites in northwestern Tuscany. Some of these groups cremated their dead and buried them in ash urns giving rise to the name urn field cultures. One such group, we mentioned briefly, was called the Villanovans. So named from their type site, Villanova, which was discovered by the archaeologist Pericles Ducati. The urns that contain the ashes of the deceased are known as biconical urns because they look like two ice cream cones that you'd place against one another. They were made of a ceramicware that was kind of rough to the touch and was handmade by what we call the coiling technique. Very simple technique of wrapping coils of ceramic around in a circle and piling them on top of one another and then smoothing them into a pot shape. The pot was then fired in a reducing atmosphere with limited exposure to oxygen, to the air, and so usually emerged from the kiln black in color. And this pottery has come to be known as impasto ware. Since these Villanovas, as they've become known, had moved into Northern Italy, seeking the available iron, copper and tin of North Western Tuscany, they became known for precision and delicacy of their metal work, of which much can be found in locations such as the National Archaeological Museums of Bolonia or Florence. The Villanovans were fond of making helmets and pottery with a special kind of S curve known as an ogee. Ogee, which is basically a concave arc flowing into a convex arc. This is also characteristic of a good deal of pottery found in early iron age cultures in central Europe, where our Villanovans appear to have come from. This particular helmet has projecting circular middle tubes on it, which probably were intended to hold plumes. Among the Villanovan sculptures of Florence is this, well curious piece. Possibly one of the first examples we have in the Iron Age Italy of a story telling scene or possibly even a scene from myth. Or it might be simply what we call an apotropaic. Something that's used to ward off evil spirits. It consists of two beast headed figures a male and a female about to have intercourse they are chained together but it's not clear if the chain is a functional part of whatever these figures belong to or if it had actual significance as part of a group. The figures are simple, even primitive in that they are reduced to geometric abstract forms without a detailed anatomy. Such sculptures sometimes had legs that looked like a two-pronged dinner fork. The female anatomy is simply rendered. The faces have little detail, and have only gashes for eyes and mouths. Torsos are geometric, and the treatment of the arms is often undisciplined, and sometimes wild. The Villanovan culture, Is also known for varying instead in two types of tombs. The simplest is commonly referred to as a pozzo tomb, which is shaped like a well, pozzo in Italian. But sometimes the dead are buried in more elaborate stone chests that have coverings or lids to them. In Latium, various Latin tribes had settled. The greatly rolling hills of Rome and the adjacent Tiber River provided an excellent attraction for Latin tribes. Recent excavations on the capital line hill have shown occupants who made bronze artifacts, and built simple homes from as early as 2,000 BC. But close to 1,000 B.C. a group of Latins may have arrived and begun to settle in the hills. Remains of simple, oval huts have been found on the Palatine Hill in Rome. These huts were actually venerated by later Romans as the home of their alleged founder, Romulus. This culture, which usually cremated their dead, instead of burying them intact, often interred the ashes in little houses, similar in appearance to the ones in which they lived. These hut urns, as they are called, might be placed in a large jar, called a dolium, along with other objects such as miniature vases. And these would provide essentials that one would need for domestic life in the afterworld. The hut urns showed that the early Iron Age Romans lived in hip-roofed houses with a central ridge pole. They had hearths within some of the little houses. And some of these areas could reach eight to ten meters across. That might be one house. Some of the Palatine cuttings suggest that there may have been animal pens around the huts and even verandas or front porches.