Excavation of Transitional Villanovan-Etruscan Cemetery

  Villanovan and Early Etruscan gravefields are located atop the hills that ring the San Giulano plateau. In contrast to the Etruscan chamber graves that have made San Giuliano famous, the Villanovan graves are typically urns with cremated skeletal remains and artifacts intered in pits. Also, atop these plateaus are a group of late 8th to early 7th century trench tombs (tombe a fosse) that mark a transitional period as the grave assemblages are taking on stylized characteristics that are recognized as Etruscan while still holding on to earlier Villanovan styles, such as geometric designs on ceramics vessels, some of which continue to be hand-made rather than thrown on a potter’s wheel.

   For the last two seasons, 2018 and 2019, we have been investigating the plateau of San Simone in search of these trench tombs. We have located six of these trench tombs that were previously not visible on the surface. We excavated one, G15-TF-001 in 2018. This tombs was intact and held the rich burial of young teenage girl. This burial assemblage is now on display in the Barbarano Civic Museum. In 2019 we removed the topsoil of a 10 x 10 m area that turned out to contain five additional burials. We excavated three and preserved two tombs for excavation in 2020. Two of these graves, G15-TF-002 and Grave G15-TF-006, were looted. However, grave G15-TF-003 contained the intact burial of a rich young child.