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The restoration of the "Queen's" chariot, the Etruscan cart (carpentum) found in an aristocratic tomb known as "Tumulus of the Queen", has been completed. The conservation operation was supervised by the Department for Archaeological Heritage of Southern Etruria, thanks also to the work and collaboration of the students in the restoration  program from the Accademia di Belle Arti "Lorenzo da Viterbo", the work was conducted at the Mastarna Society's Diagnostics and Restoration Laboratory in Montalto di Castro (VT).
From the initial recovery of the vehicle's remains, carried out by the Higher Institute for Conservation and Restoration in Rome (ISCR), the directors of the excavations at the Doganaccia  have shown the willingness to give this discovery an inter-disciplinary approach aimed at the preservation of as much information as possible, in order to restore the chariot as it appears today; and in this climate of collaboration, and essential part of this project was the the expertise of Adriana Emiliozzi, who has written and catalogued the history of  Etruscan vehicles and was assigned the delicate task of reconstructing and studying this ancient vehicle.
The chariot "of the Queen"  came to the laboratory complete with few parts, mainly those consisting of metal, as the wooden and other organic components such as leather and hide, have undergone the process of severe biological degradation during the period of the carts burial. Fortunately among the corrosion of bronze and iron, many organic fibers are still preserved. The main components of the vehicle still existing are: the iron tread of the left wheel, which still contains many nails and some iron wheel clamps; the hub of this wheel complete with its cover an iron element in which the wooden spokes were inserted; the bronze axle-cover, used to block the wheel on the rotating axle by way of the insertion of an iron linch-pin, thus prohibiting the detachment of the wheel while the chariot was in motion; finally, the seat or in other words, the upper section of the iron frame which rested on the chassis, and as with the other elements, is missing all its structural wooden components. Before beginning the various restoration procedures on the precious artifact, guaranteeing not only the integrity of the conservation, but also to restore a sort of formal readability, all the chariot's parts were documented photographically and by way of mapping each individual fragment it was possible to reveal their actual state of preservation.
At the same time, a series of scientific investigations were carried out in order to understand the manufacturing methods of the metal parts and single out the various organic typologies, starting with extant traces of fibers. First a careful intervention of cleaning, and the micro-excavation of the "earthen lumps" in which most of the chariots parts were incorporated. Next, the removal of the consolidation materials applied during the recovery, using gauze soaked in acrylic resin, permitted the removal of all active corrosion products from the metal surfaces. This process was carried out respecting the patina, using mechanical and chemical cleaning methods which in turn led to the identification of a decorative row of embossed animals running along the iron frame of the seat, this decoration was partially visible during initial X-ray scans. After the preventive stabilization treatment of the corrosion on the iron and bronze, a careful study of the interconnections of the damaged fragments made it possible to find and attach all the pieces and proceed to fill the gaps. The exhibition stand, constructed with the purpose of recreating the original look of the chariot, is made of transparent plexiglas. Self-adhesive patterns were then applied in order to visually integrate the chariot's missing parts.
Emanuele Ioppolo
Anna Gruzzi
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