Archaeologists Unearth ‘Extremely Rare’ Tomb

The pre-Roman Etruscan society has been described as “mysterious.” Just last year, the first pyramids from the culture were found in Italy, but now an even more rare find has been identified — the intact tomb of a prince.

Discovered by researchers from the University of Turin, the tomb in Tarquinia might provide more details about the culture’s early history about which little is known.

skeleton in etruscan tomb
A skeleton of a man thought to be a prince was in the tomb. (Photo: Massimo Legni/SBAEM/UNITO via Discovery News)

According to a write-up by San Jose State University about the Etruscans, they were a non-Indo-European speaking society that was flourishing during the sixth century B.C. before being “politically subordinated” to the Romans in 400 B.C.

Discovery News described the Etruscans as a “fun loving and eclectic people who among other things taught the French how to make wine, the Romans how to build roads, and introduced the art of writing into Europe, the Etruscans began to flourish around 900 B.C., and dominated much of Italy for five centuries.”

But with no literature to document major elements about their society, according to Discovery News, they are still “considered one of antiquity’s great enigmas.”

This is why Alessandro Mandolesi with the University of Turin called the tomb “a unique discovery, as it is extremely rare to find an inviolate Etruscan tomb of an upper-class individual.”

basin in tomb
This basin was found at the foot of the skeleton in the tomb, containing the remains of what was identified as food. (Photo: Massimo Legni/SBAEM/UNITO via Discovery News)

“It opens up huge study opportunities on the Etruscans,” he told Discovery News.

Inside the tomb, which is located 50 miles northwest from Rome, lies a skeleton of what’s thought to be an Etruscan prince, along with the ashes of another body, jars and vases. A spear was found on the skeleton along with brooches and other adornments. The man is believed to be royal and potentially a member of the Tarquinia family as his tomb was found near a queen and king’s tombs.

ashes of another body
The ashes of another body in the tomb. (Photo: Massimo Legni/SBAEM/UNITO via Discovery News)
etruscan tomb
Other goods found inside the Etruscan tomb. (Photo: Massimo Legni/SBAEM/UNITO via Discovery News)

There’s more to learn from the objects in the tomb and the burial technique, according to Discovery News.

“In the next days we are going to catalogue all the objects. Further scientific tests will tell us more about the individual and the tomb,” Mandolesi said.

Check out this footage showing the inside of the tomb (note: the audio of the report is Italian):

(H/T: Huffington Post)