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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 (...

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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 ...

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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...