[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 ...