An Eye To The Future, Mountains Of Our Past

View from Gran Sasso Mountains Italy

When we moved from being four-legged creatures to standing on two feet, a psychological shift is presumed to have taken place. Blumenberg argues that by standing upright we developed the ability to anticipate the future and writes that “increasing the horizon developed intelligence” (Blumenberg 2006:519).

Seeing a greater distance ahead we were able to speculate, calculate and foresee the movement of an animal ahead of us, or to anticipate danger from a greater distance. We gained the ability to be forward thinking.

Do we still use our foresight? How much do we use it in relation to climate change, for example?

Italy is a mine of information regarding the history of mankind and Italian mountains are even more so. Many mountains in Italy have been spared heavy development and have excellent archaeological sites that offer insight into pre-historic peoples.

The region of Abruzzo, Central Italy, is famed for its mountains, including the highest summit outside of the Alps, the Gran Sasso at 2,912 meters. The Fucino area “contains the oldest attestations of human presence from the Upper Palaeolithic” states Agostini et al. (2008:103). A series of 15 Upper Palaeolithic sites, mostly caves at altitudes of between 700 meters and 1000 meters, have been studied and reveal a wealth of fascinating discoveries.

One cave called Grotta Continenza was inhabited almost continuously between 13,500 and 5000 BC. In this site the evidence studied comes in the form of heaps of domestic waste, tools, hearths, pebble pavement, decorated objects, painted stones and graves. Boschian et al. (2017) claim there is evidence of rapid cultural turnover as people adapted or simply coped with dramatic climate change. Overall the study concludes that cultural changes accelerated through time, moving from slow evolution to fast modification, supporting that hypothesis that “adverse conditions foster adaptation more than favourable ones” (Boschian et al. 2017:23).

The conditions these mountain dwellers coped with were broadly the same throughout Europe in the Upper Palaeolithic period. First, there was a period of extreme cold with expansion of ice and snow, and thereafter there was large temperature oscillation, and finally a more temperate climate.

Due to their steep gradients, mountains present a great variety of climates and corresponding flora and fauna within a relatively short distance. Still today the level of biodiversity and richness of resources that mountains offer is outstanding compared to lowlands. Apparently between approximately 13,000 and 12,000 B.C. Agostini et al. (2008) write that three of the caves

Source:: The Huffington Post – Canada Travel

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