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The Excavations For The Years 2008-2010

After a preliminary study in the spring of 2008, excavations began on July 14th. Cleared of dense vegetation, the “Tumulus of the Queen” was ready to reveal its secrets to archaeologists. The first survey highlighted the cornerstones of the structure: the excavation revealed a large portion of the base perimeter whose foundation included a rock-cut outer blocks of limestone, now largely lost due to the heavy spoliations. Archeologists thus estimated the diameter of the grave: over 40 meters. The “Tumulus of the Queen” turned out to be the largest funerary monument in existence today in Tarquinia. Archeologist also traced the lateral margins of the monumental access introducing the burial chamber at the center of the tumulus in the western part of the building.
Archeologists delineated more clearly the side hangings of the access, made of large blocks of limestone, and the steps of a stairway dug in the rock emerge. The main novelty was made, however, by the emergence of a band of white plaster: the operations of excavation were temporarily interrupted and conservators acted to consolidate and analyze the delicate finish. Behind that tumulus, another extraordinary discovery: the Gemina Tomb, a grave characterized by the presence of two burial chambers designed to accommodate two deceased couples, probably renowned relatives of the owner of the tumulus. The double-chamber is an architectural rarity in the Orientalizing period: archeologists were facing probably the oldest example of this type of structure.
Archaeologists continued the unveiling of the basement: at the end of the year about half of the hoof of the “Tumulus of the Queen” was free. At the same time they continued the work in the hall which was designed as an extensive "little square" [the so-called “Piazzaletto”] in the open. Archaeologists freed completely the wide entrance stairway and the vestments side with large pieces of plaster that originally covered all the walls. Overlooking the "Piazzaletto", two side chambers emerged unexpectedly, one was collapsed while the other was still intact and closed by a heavy slab broken at the top by the ancient plunderers. Archaeologists postponed to the following campaign the investigation of these environments.
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