- The key settlement of South Etruria, located six kilometers from the sea and linked to the ports of Pyrgi (by a monumental road), Alsium, and Punicum. Knowledge of its early origins has been supplemented by systematic survey of its surface area, recovering material of Final Bronze Age and Villanovan date. Prior to this survey, some Final Bronze Age fragments were found in the Monte Abbatone cemetery area. More specifically, tomb 163 of Il Sorbo cemetery is of Protovillanovan type. The main early cemeteries flourished from the Villanovan period to the south (Il Sorbo) and the north (Cava della Pozzzolana) and contained a range of grave types: pit (single and double), pozzetto (cremation), and trench (fossa inhumation) tombs. The best-known cemetery is that of Sorbo, which had 450 tombs, of which 49 percent (219) were inhumations and 51 percent (231) were cremations. The latter were mainly very simple holes in the ground (pozzetto) and only 10 percent had a simple protective cylindrical container (custodia cilindrica). These cemeteries are relatively poor compared with Tarquinia.From the seventh century BC, tombs were mainly placed on the Banditaccia and Monte Abatone plateaus. These demonstrate considerable seventh-century prosperity, a situation that continued into the sixth and fifth centuries BC. The Banditaccia cemetery provides an excellent sequence that exemplifies the development of Etruscan funerary architecture, showing a complex tomb evolution, gradually allowing access of larger proportions of population. For some, this may show a democratization of access to formal burial; for others, this may indicate simply a relaxation of ideological regulations, or changing funerary practice. By the late seventh century BC, large burial mounds were constructed in the Banditaccia cemetery as much as 50 meters in diameter and 15 meters in height. These mounds have the appearance of round huts where earthern roofs sit on drums of tuff or walls surmounted by a circular cornice, approached by one access route across an encircling ditch. The burial zone was reached by a long corridor of between 10 and 15 meters in length, and this same linearity was continued into the chambers beyond, through a sequence of small spaces. It has been argued these corridors deliberately separate the living from the dead, in one case, the Tomb of the Dolia, guarded by a sphinx.Typical tombs of this period include the Regolini-Galassi tomb and the Tomba della Capanna. As the name suggests, the latter tomb begins a tradition of replication of the domestic scene, similar to the ridgepole of a hut. The linear effect of the corridor was reduced through time, concentrating more on a central and neighboring chambers, as seen in the Tomba dei Capitelli and the Tomb degli Scudi e Sedie. Both of these two tombs show distinctive domestic features, as the names suggest. Toward the end of the sixth century, the number of rooms was reduced, culminating in the retention of just one chamber. At the end of the sixth century, extending into the fifth century BC, these distinctive tombs were replaced by smaller, street-lined square tombs, bound together by a common cornice, accompanied by external grave markers. One consequence was a much shorter entranceway.Current knowledge is still principally restricted to the cemeteries, but some temple structures (comprising some eight distinct sacred areas), a residence similar to Murlo, and intramural burials have now Later tombs at the Banditaccia cemetery of Caere. been excavated in the town area. The excavated sacred areas include a possible temple of Hera at Vigna Parrocchiale, a small sanctuary at Manganello, and a third at Sant’Antonio. The early prominence of the city is confirmed by the large quantity of early inscriptions. There is some dispute over the size of the city but 130 to 150 hectares appears to be a reasonable estimate for the size of the large tuff plateau on which the city rests. One indication of the city’s importance was its sponsoring of a treasury built at Delphi. The city was one of the principal places of early bucchero production. Important local descent groups include the Matuna, Tarna, and Tarxna.
Historical Dictionary of the Etruscans. Simon K. F. Stoddart.