Friday, September 7, 2007

A Find for the Ages.

This story is nearly a week old now, but I just discovered it while playing around with Google News.

A rare find was discovered south of Siena: an undisturbed Etruscan tomb. The Etruscans were a people that inhabited what is now known as Tuscany in Italy. Often called pirates by ancient authors, the Etruscans traded with groups all over the Mediterranean, from Carthage to the Levant (modern day Syria and Israel). They dominated central Italy until the second century BC, when the Roman Republic grew in power. The date of this tomb is from this later time period.

Read the article for the details, but note what the author says near the end about local lore.

"In Civitella Paganico, residents have known for a long time that something
interesting was hidden in the woods.
"When I was a child, my father told me
there were strange holes in the ground around the woods," Marcocci said."

I spent a summer during college digging at a site near Siena called Poggio Civitate. That particular site was also discovered as a result of investigating local legends. "Poggio Civitate" means something like "civilized hill." The dig site is on a part of the hill known as the Piano del Tesoro, or "Plain of Treasure." Local legend had it that once someone had gone up to the hill and brought down a golden treasure. A team of archaeologists in the 1960s investigated this legend and found an Etruscan settlement from the 6th and 5th centuries BC.

The Etruscans have always fascinated me, and it is always interesting to hear about new finds.