Pietro Gaietto (Genoa, 1937-2019) was an archaeologist, active in the field of prehistoric science in an absolutely original and independent way, and at the same time a talented sculptor.
His first research dates back to 1959, first in Liguria and then in many parts of Italy, Europe and Turkey. His specialization concerns the study of the origins of art and in particular of paleolithic anthropomorphic sculpture. Research conducted in the field for more than half a century led him to the conclusion that art, during the entire Palaeolithic period, had a very precise function: that of depicting religious images. For this reason he considered fundamental that, in order to know the origin and the evolution of the religious carved images, it was necessary a deep knowledge of the origin and the evolution of the prehistoric art, that constitutes the keystone of it.
Since his early years, Gaietto has flanked the research in the field with a scientific writing activity that, over time, has become more and more refined and deepened, finally finding an outcome in an editorial series projected and directed by him, "Shapes in Evolution", which embraces not only the Art of the Paleolithic, but also various other areas of research related to human life.
By promoting congresses and meetings and founding a magazine, he has encouraged a comparison between scholars of Prehistory and related sciences to establish the foundations of a common language, encouraging an effective exchange of ideas between scholars of different cultures and backgrounds. As a consequence, over the years, he has developed contacts with European and non-European scholars, and many over time have addressed him for guidance and teaching. He has spread many seeds, and where his voice has not come directly, he has spoken and continues to speak with enthusiasm and clarity through his publications and collections. In fact, his many scientific works were mainly aimed at this.
He worked on his writings until the very last weeks of his life, and had already formulated plans for future work. Soon, his book "Happiness" will come out posthumously, like a joyful and grateful farewell to life.
His researches have revolutionized the field of the Paleolithic Archaeology and opened the way to further deepen on the extinct human species of which there are still no skeletal finds, filling evolutionary gaps concerning Homo. According to his wishes, we hope that others will continue his research and give a worthy location to his collections.
Genova, September 2019
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