Home, Sweet Home
The intact Etruscan house seen here is the first of its kind and is providing archaeologists with fresh details about daily life within a civilization that disappeared some 2,000 years ago. Aside from this find, most of what we know about the Etruscans comes from the richly decorated tombs they left behind. However, this discovery, which is being hailed as "the Pompeii of the Etruscans," has afforded an unprecedented look at this ancient culture.
Paintings and artifacts found in burial chambers have so far provided our best glimpse into the Etruscan world, which is still shrouded in mystery. Defeated by the Romans, after centuries of decline, the Etruscans became Roman citizens in 90 B.C., and their culture virtually vanished. They left no literature to record their culture. Only the richly decorated tombs they left behind have provided clues of their history.
From the Ground Up
From this perspective, we get a top-down view of the intact floor of the house. So far, only the storage room has been brought to light. However, the team hopes to excavate the entire quarter, and uncover new houses and structures.
Unlike other Etruscan houses of which only foundations stones remain, the Vetulonia house features partly standing walls. Indeed the house is offering important insights to better understand the Etruscan building techniques. "With what we have found we will be able to completely reconstruct the entire house," Simona Rafanelli, director of the excavation at Vetulonia's Archaeological Civic Museum Isidoro Falchi, told Discovery News.
Brick by Brick
Although clay usually dissolves away over time, these bricks have survived because they were baked by the same fire that destroyed the house. These intact Etruscan bricks are also the first of their kind.
More than 100 iron nails, a small collection of which are pictured here, were also uncovered by archaeologists. The team even found two bronze door handles with nails still attached at the sides.
In one corner of the room, the archaeologists found this beautiful -- and still standing -- earthenware grain storage pot.
On the intact floor the archaeologists unearthed an abundance of objects, including terracotta tiles, broken pottery (pictured here), dishes, cups, vessels and large containers for wine and olive oil.
A Little Coin
On the spot where the owner demolished a wall to enlarge the room, the archaeologists found a small pottery altar with a little treasure: five bronze Roman coins, probably used in an auspicious ritual for the new space.
More to Come
The archaeologists have unearthed just a little part of the house. "Our goal is to uncover the entire structure, and we are excited for what we might find in the residential areas," Giuliana Agricoli, archaeologist at the archaeological superintendency of Tuscany, told Discovery News. The team hopes to excavate the entire quarter and bring to light new houses and structures, including the remains of a monumental staircase which headed to an important building, perhaps a temple, on top of the hill.