- An important settlement of southern Etruria whose prominence is suggested by its linkage to the mythical Tarchun. Recent excavation and surveys have shown that some parts of the extensive plateau have been occupied since the Final Bronze Age and that the area occupied expanded from two hectares (Castellina di Tarqunia) to 120 hectares between the Final Bronze Age and the Villanovan period. There is also some evidence of Final Bronze Age burials among the later Villanovan burials. The most recent excavations in the Pian di Civita have uncovered a Final Bronze Age hut, oven, and a ritual deposit. These were followed by burials in the ninth and eighth centuries and various foundation deposits including a cast-bronze axe, a sheet-bronze shield, and a long bronze trumpet. The central part of the city is famous for the Ara della Regina temple, the latest of a succession of temple structures and the findspot of the Elogia Tarquinensia celebrating the achievements of the Spurinna family. The impressive limestone walls and gates of the city were constructed by the fifth century BC. Earlier excavations on the adjoining Monterozzi (Calvario) plateau uncovered Villanovan settlement under the famous cemetery. The major evidence is still from cemeteries. One Protovillanovan-type urn has been found. The first main cemeteries are to the east (Selciatello, Impiccato, Sopra Selciatello) and comprise pozzetti graves. The principal burial locations of the Villanovan period are at Monterozzi (200 graves), Poggio Selciatello (204 graves), Sopra Selciatello, Poggio dell’Impiccato (83 graves), and alle Rose (more One of the northern gateways of Tarquinia from inside the city. than 69) graves. The interments at the Le Rose cemetery were composed principally of cremations (90 percent), of which 74 percent were placed in a simple hole (pozzetto) in the ground, 23 percent had a cylindrical container (custodia cilindrica), and three percent had a rectangular box (cassa rectangolare). The Selciatello and Impiccato groupings had an even greater predominance of cremation (97 percent) dominated by deposition in a simple hole (77 percent). From approximately 750 BC, tombs are found on Colle dei Monterozzi, when there is an expansion of inhumation including fossa tombs. From the sixth century, the famous tomb paintings began to appear and remained in widespread use for the first half of fifth century BC. The sanctuary port of Gravisca belonged to the city, as did the smaller settlement of Tuscania. Important local descent groups include the Pinie, Pulena, Pumpu, Spitu, Spurinna, Tarquinii, and Velcha.See also DODECAPOLIS.
Historical Dictionary of the Etruscans. Simon K. F. Stoddart.