The earliest evidence of social life in the San Marino territory dates back, with great approximation, to 5000-4000 B.C., in the so-called Neolithic period, a period to which the stone axe-hammer, a tool found in the area of San Giovanni sotto le Penne, in the Borgo Maggiore castle, is traced.
Other finds in the area of Casole Castle, including a bronze axe, are instead linked to the Bronze civilization (c. 2000 B.C.).
Then we come to about 900 B.C. and the so-called Villanovan culture, from Villanova, a small town near Bologna, where the first group of tombs attributable to this period was discovered by Giovanni Gozzadini in 1853. In the territory of San Marino, traces of Villanovan civilization have been found in Castellaro, in particular, archaeological excavations have uncovered circular holes containing cinerary urns, bone remains and terracotta spools with decorations, evidence of the typical Villanovan culture practice of incineration and burial of corpses.
In Casole, on the other hand, the presence of the Etruscan people is documented thanks to the discovery of scraps of vases and fragments of paterae, colored red or black. In other areas (Santa Mustiola, Fiorentino and on the ridge of Mount Titan) burial grounds and habitation remains have been found.
Following the expansion of Rome and the founding of the colony of Ariminum (Rimini) in 268 BC, the territory of San Marino was incorporated into the Aemilia, the eighth Roman region. From this period we have the most significant traces: tombs, fictiles and amulets at Fiorentino, Castellaro and Chiusa (the latter tomb having curved tiles and marked tiles); 2006 coins from the Republican period, at Domagnano; various fictiles of Roman imprint at S. Mustiola; a bronze statuette depicting Mercury (1st – 2nd century AD).
Also very strong are the signs of intense Roman rural colonization (in the Placito Feretrano there are 6 fund names of Latin origin: Fabbrica, Silvole, Griziano, Laritiniano, Petroniano, Erviano).
Another remarkable find (discovered during agricultural work at the end of the 19th century in Domagnano Castle), which testifies to the Gothic presence in these lands, consists of the so-called “Domagnano Treasure“, a funerary trousseau (consisting of various furnishings and goldsmith’s items from the Ostrogothic period) belonging to a noblewoman most likely dating back to the 5th or 6th century AD.
The treasure, now divided among various museums, is present as a reconstruction along with other archaeological artifacts from the area are on display at the San Marino State Museum.
The history of San Marino continues with evidence of the medieval period and the birth of municipal institutions.