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Princely Tumuli In Tarquinia

The Monterozzis' necropolis of Tarquinia takes its name from the presence of numerous tumuli graves, today to a large extent flattened by the agricultural jobs. The famous painted graves, that were declared Unesco World Heritage in 2004, were found on this vast inclusive hill between the ancient city (the Civita) and the sea. These underground chambers were signaled in surface by small tumuli of earth.
The Orientalizing monumental tombs, situated in exposed and dominant place in correspondence of the principals road layouts next to the city, are less known to the general public.
At least five monumental sepulchers are preserved at Tarquinia. Every trace of an order, the so-called “Avvolta Tumulus”, are lost. The evocative words of its discoverer, Carlo Avvolta, who in 1823 pierced with a pick the slab of nenfro covering the burial chamber while he was drawing from a mound of stones for construction work, remained: “I saw a warrior in his deathbed, in a few minutes, I saw fade and fall to pieces. The air that entered the tomb, in contact with the metal oxidized, reduced to tiny fragments whole the armor. In a few moments, the figure was flattened on the bed in a handful of dust. Such was my amazement that I have no words to describe the emotion felt. I can only say that it was the happiest moment of my life”.
The graves of the princes, violated in the past due to their heightened visibility, gave back few remains of the funerary objects that had to be very rich. The architecture of the tumuli of Tarquinia appears rather homogeneous and it is highly referable to the presence of teams of highly skilled craftsmen, driven perhaps by architects of Levantinian formation. In fact, the considerable size of the caps is likely to be inspired by the monuments of Anatolian regions. The internal structure can be connected instead with the royal tombs of Salamis in Cyprus due to the presence of wide access and a single burial chamber. Different the case of the “Tumulus of the Queen” that constitutes an unicum in the landscape of the Orientalizing monumental tombs because of the particularities of the plant emerged by the excavations.
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