Rich Tomb of an Etruscan Princess Discovered in Italy
A tomb full of treasures has been discovered in Vulci, a former Etruscan city in the province of Viterbo, Italy. It is another precious discovery in this area which contains exclusive goods from ancient times.
According to ANSA.it, anthropological research helped back the theory that the recovered tomb contained the remains of a princess who belonged to the Etruscan aristocracy.
The tomb is dated to the 8th century BC, and the burial chamber is three meters (9.8 ft.) below ground. It is located in front of the ticket office at the archaeological site of Vulci. The excavation of the tomb has been carried out by the Vulci Foundation in Montalto di Castro near Viterbo.
A 45-year-old site worker named Tecla Del Papa said:
“We had no idea the tomb was there, but carried out an emergency dig last month after we noticed looters had excavated another tomb that was above the princess's tomb. The robbers had revealed, but not entered, the tomb below, so thanks to them, we were able to quickly find the burial chamber and quickly excavate it. Certainly such items lead us to believe that she was a princess, if not someone very important in society.”
Two of the artifacts discovered in the tomb. (Viterbo Oggi)
The treasures discovered in the tomb include unique and priceless pieces like a Phoenician amber necklace and two Egyptian scarabs made of gold, ivory, and silver. Apart from this, there are many other beautiful and highly elaborate pieces that attest to the artistic prowess of the ancients and the wide extent of the seafaring Etruscans' trade links.
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One of the silver artifacts with a design. (ANSA)
Archaeologists discovered the remains of a young girl inside the tomb. She was wrapped in a fragile cloth. The bones were surrounded by many impressive pieces of jewelry. Apart from precious treasures, there were also pots and jars, which are a source of information that confirm the importance of the Etruscans on the international market.
More of the jewelry found in the tomb. (Il Messaggero)
Nowadays, the researchers are trying find out more about who the young girl was and if she was related to the previously discovered remains of Etruscan nobles. Although the preservation of the bones isn't good, the researchers will still be able to complete analyses, which should explain some details about what kind of life she lived 2,800 years ago.
Some of the artifacts uncovered at the tomb. (Tuscia Web)
The Ancient city of Vulci is located 80 km (49.7 miles) north of Rome. To date more than 15,000 tombs have been discovered, putting a new light on the Etruscan civilization. As Carlo Casi, the director of Vulci Archeological Park said to Ilmessaggero, it is lucky that nothing has ever been built in this area, so the area (over 100 hectares) could become one big excavation site. The method chosen by the archaeologist is to create micro-excavation sites connected with the specific burials. The next season of excavations will start in April
Looking inside the tomb of the ‘Estruscan princess.’ (ANSA)
The tomb of the ‘princess’ has also been called “The Tomb of the Golden Scarab.” It is common in Vulci for the archaeologists to create quite romantic names for the tombs they excavate. This practice has its roots in the 19th century, when the ancient tombs were a stop for many wanderlusts. During those times, the tombs were still not protected, and many sites were discovered by curious tourists.
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The first official excavations were undertaken on the orders of Cardinal Guglielmo Pallotta. They discovered numerous burials, ranging from very simple to spectacular. Amongst these early excavations, the most popular was The Tomb of the Sun and the Moon.
The Etruscan city of Vulci. (Robin Iversen Rönnlund /CC BY SA 3.0)
Another tomb discovered more recently is called the Tomb of the Silver Hands. It is believed to have belonged to a woman. Inside the tomb the archaeologists discovered an Egyptian scarab dated from 746 BC to 525 BC. Apart from this, they found painted beads, an iron fibula brooch, jars, and a bucchero in Corinthian style. (The bucchero is a type of ceramic black pot with a glossy surface made by the Etruscans.)
The silver hands became one of the most important finds in Vulci. They were taken to the laboratory and X-rayed. Following this examination, it was possible to restore and conserve them.
Featured Image: The tomb and a couple of the artifacts that were found within it. Source: Archaeological site of Vulci