In the heart of the Etruscan necropolis of Monterozzi, ten graves have emerged. They can be dated between the Villanovan and the archaic age, that is the period that saw the full affirmation of Tarquinia, to which the myths about the foundation of the Etruscan civilization are related. The discovery of this new burial group goes back to last fall. However, researchers have shown the artifacts to the public on the 14th of January.
The excavations of Tarquinia
The necropolis of Monterozzi, the most important of Tarquinia and the most ancient one of Etruria, is located on the eponymous hill, about one kilometer from the city. The decision to start a digging campaign was made by the Archeological Superintendence, Fine Arts and Landscape for the province of Viterbo and southern Etruria and goes back to last fall, after ploughing works on a private land led to the opening of a series of cavities of archeological interest. During the excavations, a group of ten Etruscan tombs was brought to light. They can be dated between the Villanovian age and the archaic one and they’re located a few meters away from the Tomba Dei Tori and from the Auguri one. Unfortunately, in ancient times, the tombs were sacked by thieves who stole the precious metals, leaving ceramics and other grave goods in situ because they were considered of low value.
The Gemina grave
Early restoration works on the artifacts allow to fully comprehend the richness of the funerary equipment of the Gemina grave. This tomb aroused great interest from an architectural point of view. The monument consists of two flanked chambers facing south-west towards two open-air vestibules accessed through a staircase. The covering of both chambers is of the slit type. Nenfro plates were used to seal the doors. Alongside the left wall of both chambers, there is the carved bed on which the deceased was placed. The closing slabs, which were previously perforated by the first visitors, were accurately sealed again after the looting, as a sign of respect towards the deceased. However, over time, the maneuver led to the collapse of the northern chamber.
The funerary equipment consists of vascular shapes made of splint-polished mixture with carved and configured decorations; several bucchero vases; pots painted in Etruscan-geometric style, including some attributed to the Palm Painter; euboian cups a chevrons: various wood fragments made of iron and gold, which suggest the presence of precious objects, and a female statuette.
Daniele Federico Maras, an official working for the Superintendence of Tarquinia, suggested the first half of the 7th century B.C. as chronological frame, placing the tomb context in the decades preceding Tarquinius Priscus, who is traditionally known as the fifth king of Rome (between 616 and 579 B.C.).