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Monumental tomb of Piceni 'warrior prince' unearthed in Corinaldo, Ancona


A monumental tomb dating from the seventh century BC, said to belong to a Picenian "warrior prince", has been discovered in Corinaldo, in the central Italian province of Ancona.

Monumental tomb of Piceni 'warrior prince' unearthed in Corinaldo, Ancona
Credit: Pierluigi Giorgi/La Repubblica
The original tomb was covered by a mound, perhaps a few metres high, and surrounded by a moat about 30 metres in diameter. The body was placed in the centre, above a large pit packed with pottery and other grave goods.

Monumental tomb of Piceni 'warrior prince' unearthed in Corinaldo, Ancona
Credit: Pierluigi Giorgi/La Repubblica
Archaeologists from the University of Bologna, who have been analysing and studying the artefacts found in the tomb for over a year now, are convinced that the deceased was of aristocratic rank.

Monumental tomb of Piceni 'warrior prince' unearthed in Corinaldo, Ancona
Credit: Pierluigi Giorgi/La Repubblica


A chariot with wheels made of iron, a precious material for the time, a helmet, weapons, various bronze objects and containers, as well as numerous vases imported from Etruria and Apulia are unequivocal signs of power and wealth.

Monumental tomb of Piceni 'warrior prince' unearthed in Corinaldo, Ancona
Credit: Pierluigi Giorgi/La Repubblica
A large Daunian olla, a vase from Puglia, also testifies to a network of transmarine trade with the Apulian region and confirms that the tomb must have belonged to a prominent person, a respected "warrior prince" worthy of veneration given the splendour of the tomb.

Monumental tomb of Piceni 'warrior prince' unearthed in Corinaldo, Ancona
Credit: Pierluigi Giorgi/La Repubblica
"It is one of the largest tombs ever found after that of the Picenian queen of Sirolo," says Federica Boschi, professor of Geophysics applied to archaeology and director of the excavation, "and it is almost on the northern border of the area inhabited by the Piceni, before the Romans, which included the Marche and part of Abruzzo."

Monumental tomb of Piceni 'warrior prince' unearthed in Corinaldo, Ancona
Credit: Pierluigi Giorgi/La Repubblica


"Let's suppose it's a male, a warrior, given the objects found", explains Boschi. "He was probably the head of the local community, according to the oligarchic and aristocratic social structure typical of this people from whose highest ranks women were not excluded."

Monumental tomb of Piceni 'warrior prince' unearthed in Corinaldo, Ancona
Credit: Pierluigi Giorgi/La Repubblica
"Unfortunately, the human remains were not preserved, possibly destroyed by late Roman or medieval ploughs", says Boschi, "but we found some fragments of bone in the pit with the grave goods which will be subjected to a DNA analysis to verify the sex of deceased."

Monumental tomb of Piceni 'warrior prince' unearthed in Corinaldo, Ancona
Credit: Pierluigi Giorgi/La Repubblica
The excavation is part of the ArcheoNevola project, a collaboration between the Disci (Department of History, Culture and Civilisation) of the University of Bologna,, the Municipality of Corinaldo, the Soprintendenza Archeologia Belle Arti e Paesaggio delle Marche, the consortium Città Romana di Suasa and the Fondazione Flaminia of Ravenna.

Source: La Repubblica [July 24, 2018]

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