The article is a tribute to the pioneering role of Klavs Randsborg in the early Nineties in search for a new comprehensive chronology for Italian and European prehistory based on a combination of dendrodates with C14 dates. The debate of the last 25 years on this matter is presented, demonstrating a scholarly split, in particular in Italy. At the same time, an Italian peculiarity, the presence of layers of volcanic eruptions mixed with archaeological deposits is proposed as a sort of meeting ground for opponents and proponents of absolute chronology and a way to pair it with known cultural phenomena.
In Italian classical archaeology, the definitive adoption of the stratigraphic excavation method occurred later than in other European countries. This methodological shift took place in Italy in the 1970s.
We aim to scrutinize some points of the established historiographical reconstruction. We focus on three scholars regarded as “key figures” in the birth of Italian stratigraphic archaeology, yet all of the first half of the twentieth century, Giacomo Boni, Nino Lamboglia, and Luigi Bernabò Brea. We examine the origin of their stratigraphic approach and thus their relationship with prehistoric research. This is also an opportunity to reflect upon the conceptual and methodological transfer from one type of archaeology to another.
In general, through comparison of these scholars, we aim to highlight some key factors in the establishment of a stratigraphic method in the history of archaeology.