Arranged on the second floor of Michelangelo’s Cloister, the Protohistoric Section of the National Roman Museum collects the archaeological testimonies of the most ancient stages of the culture emerged all over ancient Latium in the Late Protohistory from 11th-10th centuries to the early 6th century BCE (end of the Bronze Age, Early Iron Age and Orientalizing period).
The first part of the exhibition concerns the Latian culture and the territory of the so-called Latium Vetus (latin for Old Latium), located at the south of the Tiber and centred on the Alban Hills; by means of the archaeological materials, social structure, religion, ideology, political and territorial organization and relationships with the nearby regions are reconstructed.
Around the middle of the 8th century, when Rome is traditionally said to have been founded, the communities of Latium passed from a tribal type organization to the first emergence of the city-states. A further deep transformation was stimulated by the relationships with the neighbouring regions: Etruria, in the north, rich in materials and more advanced on the economic, social and political level, and Campania, in the south, from where, in the 8th century, the Greek colonization started.
In the second part of the exhibition are illustrated the different centres of the territory of Rome: all the materials on display come from recent excavations. Among them are: the district of the Osteria of the Osa-Castiglione, in which the Latin city of Gabii was to develop, and some minor centres: Castel di Decima, Acqua Acetosa Laurentina, Fidene, Crustumerium, La Rustica.