- This key Etruscan city of South Etruria was the largest (approximately 190 hectares), most dominant settlement in its landscape and was located only 17 kilometers from Rome. The Final Bronze Age occupation is difficult to establish compared with other Etruscan cities, and has only been definitively established at the Northwest Gate in the later Villanovan cemetery of Casale del Fosso and at the nearby settlement of Isola Farnese. Controversy also exists over the nature and extent of Villanovan occupation, which may have been arranged in a few small villages (John Ward-Perkins) or distributed over much of the large plateau (Marcello Guaitoli). Reanalysis of the British School at Rome survey of the city appears to show zones of high and low density, a pattern somewhere between these two extremes. Villanovan cemeteries have been found at Grotta Gramiccia, Valle la Fata, Vacchereccia, and Quattro Fontanili. The excavation of the last of these has been particularly influential in providing a model for the development of chronology, nonindigenous imports, and social change. This cemetery contained an estimated 697 graves, of which 434 (62 percent) were inhumations and 263 (38 percent) cremations. Of the 208 cremations with an accurate context, 75 percent had a simple hole in the ground, 19 percent were placed in a cylindrical container, and 6 percent were accompanied by a dolium; only one was placed in a rectangular container. As a general pattern, simple pozzetto forms changed into more complex tombs with the gradual introduction of fossa tombs and inhumation (and the larger numbers of later Villanovan graves explain the larger numbers of inhumations compared with other cemeteries).Orientalizing and Archaic cemeteries both continue from these early cemeteries and occupy new positions. One of these contains an early Etruscan painted tomb dating to the seventh century BC. Others are the monumental princely tombs of Monte Michele, Vacchereccia, and Monte Aguzzo. Until recently there was little excavation within the city (except for street plans at Piazza d’Armi and the extramural sanctuary at Portonaccio). The Portonaccio temple is famous for its many dedicatory inscriptions and for its figurative sculpture. Another sanctuary was known at Campetti. Another monument of note is the water canal cutting of Ponte Sodo. More recently, important excavation work by the University of Rome has been started under the later Roman forum and has been restarted at Piazza d’Armi. The city was also the focal point of the seminal field survey by the British School at Rome under the direction of Ward-Perkins, and this work is now being reanalyzed using new dating of the pottery and computerized technologies. The proximity of the city to Rome led to a series of conflicts, recorded by Livy and other authors, that ended in the sack of Veii in 396 BC.
Historical Dictionary of the Etruscans. Simon K. F. Stoddart.