- An important major coastal city in North Etruria, indeed one of only two (with Pisa) major Etruscan cities directly on the coast, whose burial sequence has been par ticularly well explored, showing occupation from the Final Bronze Age into the full Etruscan period. At the locality Villa del Barone, a small Protovillanovan burial has been discovered, showing continuity of occupation of this particular area from the Late Bronze Age. A possible Late Bronze Age fibula has also been found from the neighboring cemetery of Piano delle Granate. These finds relate to the older upper city. At a later period, the lower city developed in terms of funerary, industrial, and domestic organization. The settlement shows important, distinctive funerary features, particularly in comparison with neighboring Vetulonia, in spite of considerable contact. The cemeteries are dispersed outward from the citadel area and are made up of mixed rites (cremation and inhumation), where the dead are placed in varied funerary structures (pozzetti, fossa, a camera) and often are arranged in twin burials (even in fossa graves) in the Villanovan period. Tomba a circolo tombs and hut urns are rare. Metal grave goods are more frequent than ceramic in these tombs.A major floruit can be detected from the late seventh to early sixth century on the basis of Orientalizing burials at a number of locations: for example, Poggio delle Granate, Podere S. Cerbone, and Piano delle Granate. A distinctive brand of monumental tombs dates to this phase and is characterized by a drum profile. The industrial area is concentrated in the area between the Poggio della Porcareccia and the Fosso Castagnola, where metallurgical activities took place between the sixth century and the beginning of the third century BC, drawing on the nearby ores from Elba. There is evidence for strong contacts with Caere and (from 630 BC) with Tarquinia and Vulci. Many Populonia coins have been found in Aleria, suggesting important links with Corsica and Volterra in this later period. The settlement also became important for local bucchero production. The major settlement was probably on the hills of Molino and Castello, but another sixth-century settlement has been found on the slopes of Poggio della Porcareccia (particularly connected with metallurgical activity). The earliest walls (of the upper town) probably date from the sixth or fifth century and the outer walls date from the fourth century BC. It was also the earliest Etruscan city to strike coinage (in the late sixth century BC). At a later date there was an important cult of Tinia.
Historical Dictionary of the Etruscans. Simon K. F. Stoddart.
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