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Marco Rendeli

[It.: ‘red water’]

Modern name of an Etruscan settlement near Viterbo, Italy. It is situated on a small tufa plateau bounded on three sides by streams, one of which runs red. Excavations conducted by the Swedish Institute of Classical Studies during the 1960s and 1970s uncovered the tufa foundations of buildings that comprised various sectors of an ancient town. These provide some of the most extensive archaeological evidence relating to Etruscan domestic architecture and urban organization. The site was already inhabited in the 8th century bc and grew considerably during the following two centuries. Its main economic activity was apparently agriculture. Throughout its history the settlement had close links both with the coastal Etruscan cities and with those inland, in particular Tarquinia and Volsinii Veteres (Orvieto). It was permanently abandoned at the beginning of the 5th century bc, and the absence of any overlay of Roman or later material contributes to its archaeological importance....

Article

Marco Rendeli

[Gr. Agylla; Lat. Caere; Etrus. Caisra]

Italian town near the Tyrrhenian coast c. 40 km north-west of Rome. The Etruscan city of Caisra, usually known by its Roman name, Caere, was situated on a tufa plateau bounded by two streams, extending north-east of modern Cerveteri. The site is especially important for the extensive Etruscan necropolises on the surrounding hillsides (see fig.). The ancient town itself has been only partially excavated.

The first settlements at and around Cerveteri date to the Middle Bronze Age. By the Late Bronze Age (12th–11th century bc) these had begun to coalesce, although compared with other southern Etruscan centres, such as Tarquinia, Veii and Vulci, the town’s development during the Early Iron Age (9th–8th century bc) was gradual. The Cava della Pozzolana and the Sorbo necropolis (to the east and west respectively) contain typical cremation burials in pit tombs. During the 8th century bc Cerveteri became a centre for the trade with Greek and Phoenician merchants, stimulating the evolution of Etruscan Orientalizing art. The later development of its three dependent ports at ...

Article

Chiusi  

Marco Rendeli

[Etrus. Camars; Lat. Clusium]

Italian town c. 165 km north of Rome. It is situated on a tufa hill and surrounded by extensive Etruscan necropolises. Beneath the streets of the modern town runs a labyrinth of Etruscan galleries. Ancient Camars (known by its Latin name, Clusius) was one of the members of the Etruscan 12–city league and an important centre midway between southern and northern Etruria. Many local finds are displayed in the Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Chiusi.

The Bronze Age and Early Iron Age tombs at Belverde di Cetona and Poggio Renzo respectively are among the earliest of the many important tombs in the area. During the 7th century bc Chiusi began to coalesce from a network of scattered settlements, and its most numerous and characteristic products of this Orientalizing period are Canopic urns. These pottery ash-urns comprise ovoid vases, often in the form of stylized bodies, with lids shaped as human or animal heads (...

Article

Tom Rasmussen

[Lat. Falerii]

Italian town c. 54 km north of Rome, dramatically situated on a tufa plateau isolated by stream-cut gorges. Beyond the town are numerous Etruscan necropolises with rock-cut chamber tombs.

In ancient times Civita Castellana, then called Falerii, was the principal city of the Falisco-Capenate region. Although the Faliscans seem to have been racially distinct from the Etruscans and spoke a dialect of Latin, culturally and politically they were (and appear to have considered themselves) part of Etruria. In the wars between Rome and Veii, for example, Falerii was a staunch ally of the latter, and after the destruction of Veii in 396 bc it quickly became subject to Rome. Almost nothing of Etruscan Falerii now stands, except for the remains of a temple, or pair of temples, dedicated to Juno Curitis in the Contrada Celle, a Temple of Mercury at I Sassi Caduti and a temple at Lo Scasato. The temple sites have produced finds of important architectural terracottas (Rome, Villa Giulia) dating from the early ...

Article

Marco Rendeli

Modern name of an Etruscan city, the ancient name of which is unknown. Situated c. 50 km south of Bologna, in the central valley of the River Reno on a terrace called Pian di Misano, at the exit of the Apennine mountain passes, it was part of the Etruscan colonization of the plain around the River Po in the second half of the 6th century bc and was connected via the River Reno with Felsina (Bologna) and Spina. Marzabotto is the only Etruscan city to have been extensively excavated and studied. Its layout is based on a formal grid plan (see fig.), divided along orthogonal axes according to ancient rules. These axes comprise a main north–south street and three east–west streets, all of which were 15 m wide. There were also subsidiary north–south streets only 5 m wide. The precise extent of the inhabited area cannot be calculated because of fluvial erosion and the absence of any walls. Two monumental structures to the east and north, however, appear to have been city gates. The blocks formed by the intersection of the streets were occupied by both private dwellings and manufacturing establishments, in particular pottery and metal workshops, but nothing is known of the area given over to public buildings. The single-storey dwellings faced on to the streets, and the rooms were arranged internally around a central courtyard, open to the sky and usually containing a well. The roofs must have been ridged, since rain–water was intended to run off into collection pipes. These houses were built on foundations of river pebbles, and the walls were of compressed clay on a wooden framework (...

Article

Marco Rendeli

[now Murlo]

Site of an Etruscan building complex near Siena, Italy. The single large building is on raised ground controlling the valley of the River Ombrone, to which it is connected by a tributary. It is usually considered to have been an aristocratic palace, but it may possibly have been a sanctuary. One of the most important sites in northern Etruria, it was excavated by a team from Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania.

Two main phases of construction can be discerned. The first dates from the early 7th century bc, and, while it has been only partially excavated, it appears to have provided the basic layout for the later phase. The second (c. 575 bc) clearly suggests an imposing structure, almost square in plan (see fig.). The foundations show 18 openings arranged around a courtyard, three sides of which had a portico supported by columns resting on stone bases. The fourth, west side had no inner portico, and it may have housed the shrine of an ancestor cult. The walls were of ...

Article

Tom Rasmussen

[Etrus. Pupluna]

Italian village situated on a promontory c. 15 km north of the port of Piombino. In ancient times Populonia was an Etruscan city and the only major Etruscan centre sited directly on the coast (all other ‘coastal’ cities were in fact several km inland). There was already an important settlement there at the end of the Bronze Age, and in Etruscan times there were two main centres of habitation: on the summit of the acropolis hill at Poggio del Molino and at its foot on the Bay of Baratti. The acropolis had its own ashlar wall; the lower town was also defended by an outer wall, which effectively cut off the whole of the peninsula. Few remains of the buildings in either area have been uncovered, although excavations at Poggio del Molino, begun in 1980 by A. Romualdi, have revealed the platform of a large temple of Hellenistic date, along with fragments of its exterior terracotta decorations....

Article

Pyrgi  

Marco Rendeli

[now Santa Severa]

Etruscan town on the Tyrrhenian coast c. 53 km north-east of Rome. It was one of the ports of Cerveteri (Caere) and thus an important centre for Etruscan trade and naval power in the Mediterranean. Pyrgi was inhabited from the Bronze Age, but its development as a port dates from the 7th–6th century bc. The Sanctuary of Leukothea (or Eileithyia) at Pyrgi has been excavated by the Institute of Etruscology at the University of Rome (1957–64). It was approached by a wide road (c. 10 m) from Cerveteri through a monumental entrance. The sanctuary was enclosed by a wall and bounded to the south by inlets from the sea.

Two temples, apparently dedicated to Uni (the Etruscan Juno), stood either side of a sacred area. Temple B, the older and smaller structure (c. 500 bc; c. 28×19 m) was peripteral with a pronaos and single cella, following Greek models. Finds from its site include numerous fine architectural terracottas, notably a terracotta relief plaque depicting the ...

Article

Marco Rendeli

[It. Roselle]

Site of an Etruscan city c. 10 km from Grosseto, Italy. It is situated on two elevated points, once an island in the shallow gulf that became, in Roman times, the salt-water Lake Prilius and later degenerated into malarial swamps, drained and cultivated in modern times. The settlement dates back to the 9th century bc, although there are few remains of the city before the 6th century bc, by which time a city wall of crude brickwork on stone foundations had apparently been constructed (see Etruscan §II 4.). In the second half of the 6th century bc a new, more substantial wall of irregular but firmly jointed blocks was erected, and there is evidence that the town had become a specialized manufacturing centre. Rusellae’s development seems to have been at the expense of nearby Vetulonia. Rusellae continued to prosper in the Classical and Hellenistic periods, although it appears to have expanded less than other major Etruscan cities. During the ...

Article

Marco Rendeli

Site of an Etruscan town on a tufa plateau c. 15 km south-west of Viterbo, Italy. Some scholars have identified it as ancient Contenebra. Both the town and its necropoleis have been excavated by the Swedish Institute at Rome. The earliest evidence of habitation dates from the Middle Bronze Age, and by the Late Bronze Age there was a village of large oval huts. This was succeeded during the Early Iron Age by a village of similar oval-plan huts (see Etruscan, fig. b). The main building phase of the Etruscan town began around 700 bc and was characterized by houses with rectangular plans, tufa block foundations, walls of opus craticium (wattle and daub on a timber framework) and drainage channels. The plan of one house shows clear similarities with that of the Tomb of the Thatched Roof, Cerveteri (Caere; early 7th century bc), and pottery finds, both from the town and the necropoleis (the most important of which is the Porzarago), reveal strong Caeretan influences: like the nearby Tolfa mountains, San Giovenale probably came under the political and economic sway of Cerveteri. In the ...

Article

Marco Rendeli

[Etrus. Tarchuna, Tarxna; Gr. Tarkunia; Lat. Tarquinii]

Site of one of the most important Etruscan cities, on a hill c. 5 km from the Tyrrhenian coast and c. 92 km north-west of Rome. The modern town of Tarquinia, known as Corneto until 1922, is on a hill slightly to the west of the ancient site. The legendary founder of Tarquinia was Tarchon (Strabo: Geography V.cclxxix). During the Early Iron Age several small, dispersed settlements occupied the site, and the cemeteries associated with these, containing many cremation burials, have provided the most copious finds of any Etruscan centre of this period. During the 8th century bc the settlements combined and Tarquinia began to develop into a powerful Etruscan city state. The occurrence of more elaborate burials at this time (e.g. the Tomb of the Warrior) further suggests the emergence of a ruling élite. In the Orientalizing period large chamber tombs, for inhumation rather than cremation burial, began to be constructed, and a particularly important tomb-group of Orientalizing artefacts was found in the Bocchoris Tomb (...

Article

Veii  

Marco Rendeli

[Gr. Ventia; It. Veio]

Etruscan site c. 20 km north of Rome, set on a triangular tufa plateau bounded by two streams and accessible only from the north-west. Veii was apparently the largest city of the Etruscan twelve-city league, with an extensive territory and control of the River Tiber to the south. Excavations at Veii began in the 18th century, and the site has now been systematically explored. The earliest, small settlements on the site were Early Iron Age, and these villages later combined to form a substantial centre. The necropoleis contain chamber tombs, mostly for cremation burials, but, as elsewhere in Etruria, inhumation became more common in the Orientalizing period and rock-cut tombs under large tumuli were constructed. The Tomb of the Ducks (c. 675–c. 650 bc) contains probably the oldest known Etruscan wall painting, and the Campana Tomb (c. 600 bc) also predates any of the painted tombs at Tarquinia (...

Article

Marco Rendeli

[Etrus. Vetluna]

Site of an Etruscan city, now a village, on a hilltop c. 18 km north-west of Grosseto, Italy. In ancient times the city overlooked Lake Prilius, as did nearby Rusellae. There are few excavated remains: a main street c. 3 m wide, crossed obliquely by two smaller roads, has been uncovered. The buildings were small, crowded mud-brick or stone structures, as at Veii and San Giovenale. The city walls (?6th century bc) can be traced, as can the remains of a 3rd-century bc temple. Most information about ancient Vetulonia comes, however, from its necropoleis. The Early Iron Age is characterized by cremation burials and repositories containing many imported artefacts. Indigenous metalwork and small-scale three-dimensional sculpture is represented in this and the following Orientalizing period by some fine bronze figurines, decorated vase stands and other objects (see also Etruscan §VI 2., (i)). In the 7th century bc many ...

Article

Vulci  

Marco Rendeli

[Etrus. Velc ; Gr. Olkion; Lat. Volcii]

Site of Etruscan city near Montalto di Castro, Italy. It occupies a tufa plateau overlooking the lower reaches of the River Fiora c. 120 km north-west of Rome and c. 15 km inland from its ancient port, Regisvilla, on the Tyrrhenian coast. Vulci was a member of the Etruscan 12-city league but is seldom mentioned in ancient sources, and most evidence relating to its pre-Roman history consists of finds from its surrounding necropoleis. Already a substantial settlement by the Late Bronze Age, Vulci flourished during the 9th and 8th centuries bc as a metalworking centre, and the earliest imports of Near Eastern and Sardinian artefacts date from this time. From around 630 bc Vulci experienced remarkable prosperity and productivity. There were copious imports of Greek and Near Eastern artefacts which, together with the arrival of immigrant craftsmen, stimulated the establishment of local fine pottery workshops. In the 6th century bc...