Archaeology / Cultural Heritage / History

[Archaeology] [twocolumns]

Anthropology / Human Evolution / Linguistics

[Anthropology] [twocolumns]

Palaeontology / Palaeoclimate / Earth Sciences

[Palaeontology] [twocolumns]

Evolution / Genetics / Biology

[Evolution][twocolumns]

Discoveries at Tarquinia: the Gemina Tomb and its grave goods


Last autumn, an emergency excavation campaign carried out by the Superintendence brought to light a nucleus of ten Etruscan burials, datable to between the Villanovan and Archaic periods (8th-5th centuries BC), in the heart of the Monterozzi necropolis, a few dozen metres from the Tomb of the Bulls and the Tomb of the Augurs. Today, after the first restoration work, some of the surprising discoveries made in one of the tombs are finally revealed.


Discoveries at Tarquinia: the Gemina Tomb and its grave goods
Credit: Soprintendenza Archeologia Belle
Arti Paesaggio Etruria Meridionale

The work was necessary to secure a series of cavities that had opened up as a result of excessive ploughing on private land, the archaeological interest of which was well known. Unfortunately, as is often inevitable in the case of burials so close to the surface and accessible from the road, all the contexts had already been violated in the past, in order to remove the grave goods, in some cases with devastating effects due to the collapse of the vaults and walls.

Discoveries at Tarquinia: the Gemina Tomb and its grave goods
Credit: Soprintendenza Archeologia Belle
Arti Paesaggio Etruria Meridionale




Nevertheless, the archaeologists of the EOS ARC company, in charge of the work, were fortunate: one of the burial complexes, in fact (the one closest to the road, from which the investigations began), had indeed been 'visited', but in ancient times, by profaners interested in looting precious metals rather than ceramics and other grave goods. This circumstance made it possible to recover dozens of vases and other objects and to gather information about the original context.







"The tomb dates back to the first half of the seventh century BC," explains Daniele Federico Maras, an official of the Superintendence for the territory of Tarquinia. "It is of the 'twin' type, i.e. consisting of two independent chambers side by side, almost identical to each other and open to the south-west on as many open vestibules, which can be accessed via a steep staircase. The roof of both chambers is of the slit type, with an ogive vault carved into the rock, closed at the top by a series of nenphrite slabs, while along the left wall is a bed, carved in stone which, in the case of the northernmost chamber, is decorated with carved legs".



Discoveries at Tarquinia: the Gemina Tomb and its grave goods
Credit: Soprintendenza Archeologia Belle
Arti Paesaggio Etruria Meridionale

The doors were sealed with slabs of nenphrite, which were broken through by the looters of the past to gain access to the tombs, and then carefully closed again after they had been plundered, in an unusual show of respect for the dead. Unfortunately, however, in the case of the north chamber, the slab's resistance prompted the desecrators to also remove two blocks of the roof, causing it to collapse over time.


Discoveries at Tarquinia: the Gemina Tomb and its grave goods

Discoveries at Tarquinia: the Gemina Tomb and its grave goods
Credit: Soprintendenza Archeologia Belle
Arti Paesaggio Etruria Meridionale



Beneath the rubble of the Gemina Tomb and sifting through the loose earth, archaeologists collected fragments of glazed impasto vases, sometimes with incised decorations or configurations; a clay statuette depicting a weeping woman; several Etruscan-geometric engraved and painted bucchero vases, including some jugs by the Painter of the Palms; ancient Euboic cups; various elements of wood and iron; the fragments of a thin sheet of gold, evidently the residue of a precious coating, which the ancient robbers had stolen.


Discoveries at Tarquinia: the Gemina Tomb and its grave goods

Discoveries at Tarquinia: the Gemina Tomb and its grave goods
Credit: Soprintendenza Archeologia Belle
Arti Paesaggio Etruria Meridionale

"All the material was found shattered", comments Maras, "probably intentionally broken by the looters in order to look for imaginary treasures hidden in the vases. Luckily, however, the fragments were left on the ground and are now finally being restored, to be returned to public use".


Discoveries at Tarquinia: the Gemina Tomb and its grave goods
Credit: Soprintendenza Archeologia Belle
Arti Paesaggio Etruria Meridionale


The Soprintendenza, in fact, has ordered that the Gemina Tomb be left exposed at the end of the excavation and is planning to secure it with a suitable covering, so that it can be opened to visitors. In the meantime, the long conservation work on the finds continues, at the end of which it will finally be possible to return them to the people of Tarquinia and to the public, with the exhibition of the entire funerary context.


Discoveries at Tarquinia: the Gemina Tomb and its grave goods
Credit: Soprintendenza Archeologia Belle
Arti Paesaggio Etruria Meridionale


"In this way," concludes Superintendent Margherita Eichberg with satisfaction, "we are fulfilling the vocation of the Ministry of Culture, through a unified chain that leads from protection to enhancement without interruption. The emergency intervention was necessary to remedy the damage, but now, thanks to the commitment of the archaeologists of the Superintendency, the emergency has been transformed into an opportunity for knowledge and cultural promotion".


Source: Soprintendenza Archeologia Belle Arti Paesaggio Etruria Meridionale [trsl. TANN; January 15, 2022]


TANN

Post A Comment
  • Blogger Comment using Blogger
  • Facebook Comment using Facebook
  • Disqus Comment using Disqus

No comments :