Archaeologists Discover Etruscan Prince’s Tomb
words by Carol King Italian archaeologists have unearthed the tomb containing the skeleton of what experts believe is an Etruscan prince, who died approximately 2,700 years ago. The rock-cut tomb is located near Tarquinia in Lazio. Its entrance was covered by a large stone slab. When archaeologists removed the slab, they discovered a vaulted chamber containing a skeleton lying on a bed of stone. Ceremonial artefacts including gold jewellery, a spear, a javelin, a bronze basin and Greek Corinthian vases suggest that the remains are those of someone of royal status. Part of a complex of 6,000 tombs in a necropolis, the latest discovery is remarkable because the tomb is intact. The walls of the tomb are covered with frescoes. Professor of Etruscology Alessandro Mandolesi of the University of Turin, who led the excavation, told ‘Discovery News’: “It’s a unique discovery, as it is extremely rare to find an inviolate Etruscan tomb of an upper-class individual. It opens up huge study opportunities on the Etruscans.” The Etruscans flourished in Italy from the 9th century BC onwards and Etruscan culture reached its height in the 6th century BC. Known as Tarquinii in antiquity, Tarquinia was the most important of the 12 cities that formed the Etruscan League.