Although intact, the tomb has suffered a small natural structural collapse, the effects of which are visible in some broken vases.
Mandolesi and his team believe the individual was a member of Tarquinia’s ruling family.
The underground chamber was found beside an imposing mound, the Queen Tomb, which is almost identical to an equally impressive mound, the King’s Tomb, 600 feet away.
About 130 feet in diameter, the Queen's Tomb is the largest among the more than 6,000 rock cut tombs (200 of them are painted) that make up the necropolis in Tarquinia. Mandolesi has been excavating it and its surrounding area for the past six years.
Both mounds date to the 7th century B.C., the Orientalizing period, so called due to the influence on the Etruscans from the Eastern Mediterranean.
According to Roman tradition, Demaratus, a Greek from Corinth, landed in Tarquinia as a refugee in the 7th century BC, bringing with him a team of painters and artisans who taught the local people new artistic techniques.
Demaratus then married an Etruscan noblewoman from Tarquinia, and their son, Lucumo, became the fifth king of Rome in 616 B.C., taking the name of Lucius Tarquinius Priscus.
The story emphasizes the importance of Tarquinia as one of the most powerful cities in the Etruscan league.
Indeed, the two imposing mounds would have certainly remarked the power of the princes of Tarquinia to anybody arriving from the sea.
According to Mandolesi, the fact that the newly discovered burial lies a few feet away from the Queen’s Tomb indicate that it belonged to one of the princes of Tarquinia, someone directly related to the owners of the Queen's Tomb.
“The entire area would have been off limits to anybody but the royal family,” Mandolesi said.
“In the next days we are going to catalogue all the objects. Further scientific tests will tell us more about the individual and the tomb,” Mandolesi said.
Discovery News will follow the archaeologists live as they remove the goods from the burial chamber.