Breaking news! Just days ago, archaeologists digging at the Tuscan town of Vetulonia discovered a fully intact Etruscan house (Domus). This is extremely significant because there are no other examples in Italy of the Etruscans’ domestic space in such good condition (we have a lot of Etruscan tombs but not homes); this discovery allows archaeologists to study the building techniques used and thus to reconstruct less complete sites.
The house, constructed between the third and first centries BCE, collapsed in the year 79 BCE, a certainty backed up by the finding of six Roman coins. The collapse was likely due to the wars in that area under the Roman dictator Lucio Cornelio Silla.
The reason for its conservation may somehow be related to the importance of this home, which was on two levels and contained these gold coins. It must have belonged to an important “signore” in town. We’ll have to wait for a research presentation or for me to be able to visit to get this information straight!
The photos you see are of the house’s basement, which was used for the storage of food. The large terracotta jar was used for grains, and next to it there is a olive press. The original floor has been recovered, and it was strewn with broken – but easy enough to restore – vases and plates.
Another huge find here is the building material and technique used for the walls, which are in brick and mortar. The bricks are made of sun-cooked clay in a parallelepiped shape. The grout is also clay.
They even found a bronze door knob, and remains of bronze furniture! And finally, an altar with six gold coins embedded in it.
You can imagine why everyone is very excited about this momentous find that was hastily excavated in the past few weeks. Those working on the excavations hope to have funding to continue and to discover the entry of this house. Local politicians are already talking about the best way to make the find accessible to the public, which we heartily hope will happen very soon.
Vetulonia is in Maremma, near the coast, in the comune of Castiglione della Pescaia (Grosseto). This area is rich in Etruscan and Roman remains, some of which I’ve already discussed on this blog, like the Vie Cave and the ruins at Roselle.
News source and photos: intoscana.it