- An important, medium-sized (25 to 50 hectares—depending on the phase) boundary settlement at 310 meters above sea level, naturally fortified between two rivers. The site was excavated in some detail by the Swedes and occupied principally between the eighth century BC and approximately 550 BC. The plateau was occupied in earlier periods, including the Bronze Age and Iron Age, but the continuity of occupation is difficult to establish. In common with many other Etruscan cities, there are also encircling cemeteries. The site is famous for the terracotta decorations on elite structures within the settlement, particularly in Zone F. These show elite banquets, processions, and other indications of status. The excavations provide some precise details about the density and extent of occupation of a small Etruscan town, suggesting an irregular and uneven coverage of the plateau, although some of this information needs to be carefully considered because much of the central area of the plateau was eroded. Carl Ostenberg has calculated, from the 39 buildings discovered in his excavations (assuming a household of four to seven people), a density of 120 to 210 people per hectare for a population of 7,000 people. The site is also one of the leading sources for an understanding of domestic architecture between circa 650 and 550 BC (some 70 houses). In most cases, two or three rooms are preceded by a vestibule, and accompanying cooking and storage areas can be identified. Various walling techniques have been detected including tuff block foundations and mudbrick (a form of wattle and daub), all capped by terracotta roof tiles. The excavations also give detailed information on the Etruscan economy, namely agriculture (sheep, goat, pig, deer, and wild boar in the seventh century BC and cow, pig, sheep, and goat in the sixth century BC) and metallurgy (ironworking). In contrast with the important knowledge of the city, relatively little is known about the cemeteries or the rural settlement of its territory. The site appears to have been abandoned in about 550 BC, although there may have been some reoccupation in the fourth century BC principally in an area (Pianicara) where the Roman town of Ferentum was later to develop.See also DOMESTIC ARCHITECTURE.
Historical Dictionary of the Etruscans. Simon K. F. Stoddart.
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