We started off our morning with a nice drive down to the ancient Etruscan town of Tarquinia. We set off to see ancient Etruscan tombs. The tombs of the Etruscans are very important to the study of Etruria because the tombs had a layout that mimicked their houses and items that would be found in the household. These artifacts give great insight to the Etruscan way of life that would otherwise be unknown. Thanks to our lovely tour guide, we were able to see Etruscan tombs that are normally not open to the public. The first was the Tomb of Panthers from the seventh century BC.
As the name suggests, there are two panthers depicted on the back wall of the tomb. The two large blocks on either side mimicked beds for the dead and were actually where the deceased were placed. Though this tomb has a simple layout of one room, many of the other tombs had more complex structures. I’ll talk about those later. The tomb showed the status of the deceased. Prior to death, they would select both the artist and the subject matter to be presented in their tomb.
After we visited a couple of tombs with our guide, we wandered through a field nearby which had many tombs strewn across it. My personal favorite tomb was called “Tomba 5636” and is dated to the third century BC.
The reason that I enjoyed it so much was the painting along the side of the tomb. Depicted is two (deceased) family members (on the left) accepting two newly deceased members from their family into the underworld. Although it has sad implications, I like the idea of the deceased (the child and the parent) traveling to their next life together.
After a little bit of bus trouble, we moved on to the Mediterranean’s largest necropolis located in the modern town of Cerveteri. This site is extremely well preserved and we were able to see the original structure of the tombs, called tomula.
They were placed next to each other on roads in the necropolis. Just as in real life, the larger the tomb, the richer the person. While some had tombs the size of above, with extensive floor plans, others were much simpler and even held multiple bodies, unlike the larger ones.
The different bodies would be placed in the different slots pictured below. After we made our way back to the hotel, we had a little bit of free time before dinner which I used to get a cappuccino at a bakery called Panella. It was awesome.