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Small Sphinx found in Etruscan tomb

A statue measuring about 50 centimetres and closely resembling the Sphinx of Giza (Egypt) has been found in the archaeological area of Vulci (Montalto di Castro), in the Viterbo province. In the vicinity a number of painted Etruscan vases have also been found, some intact. 

The sphinx was discovered in Vulci [Credit: ANSA]
The statue, which depicts a cat with wings and a woman's face, was found in the 'dromos' (entrance corridor) of the Etruscan tomb found in Vulci by the archaeologists of the Southern Etruria Superintendent's Office and workers from Mastarna S.R.L., the company managing the site. 

Archaeologists believe that the tomb had been broken into a long time ago but had not been entered recently. This leads the Superintendent's Office to believe that there may be remains of considerable value within.

The excavation site at Vulci [Credit: ANSA]

Ancient 'tomb raiders' usually only took with them ''tradable'' goods, especially precious metals, and left the rest. This would explain why the statue in the shape of a Sphinx was left in the tomb. According to an initial examination by archaeologists, the Vulci Sphinx may date back to the fifth or sixth century B.C. 

The Vulci Sphinx dates to the Fifth or Sixth century B.C. [Credit: ANSA]
Over the next few days it will undergo in-depth studies in order to pinpoint the exact epoch in which it was made and where it was originally from. 

Source: ANSA [January 01, 2012]

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