The discovery of bronzes rewrites the Etruscan-Roman history of Italy

ROME (AP) – Italian authorities on Tuesday announced the extraordinary discovery of 2,000-year-old bronze statues at an ancient Tuscan hot spring and said the discovery will “rewrite history” of the transition from Etruscan civilization to ‘Roman Empire.

The discovery, in the sacred baths of the archaeological excavations of San Casciano dei Bagni near Siena, is one of the largest ever made in the Mediterranean and certainly the largest since the underwater discovery in 1972 of the famous bronze warriors of Riace. , said Massimo Osanna, Director of Museums at the Ministry of Culture.

Thanks to the mud that protected them, the two dozen bronze figurines and other objects were found in a perfect state of preservation, bearing delicate facial features, inscriptions and wavy tunics. Alongside the numbers were 5,000 gold, silver and bronze coins, the ministry said.

As proof of the significance of the find, the ministry announced the construction of a new museum in the area to house the antiquities.

A statue is seen at the site of the discovery of two dozen well-preserved bronze statues from an ancient Tuscan thermal spring in San Casciano dei Bagni in central Italy. (Italian Ministry of Culture via AP)

Jacopo Tabolli, who coordinated the excavations at the University for Foreigners in Siena, said the find was important because it sheds new light on the end of Etruscan civilization and the expansion of the Roman Empire into Italy. powerhouse today between the 2nd and 1st centuries BC.

The period was marked by wars and conflicts in the regions of present-day Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio, and yet the bronze statues show that the Etruscan and Roman families prayed together to the deities in the sacred sanctuary of the thermal springs. The statues, including depictions of Apollo and Igea, the ancient Greek god and goddess of health, bear Etruscan and Latin inscriptions.

Archaeologists work at the site of the discovery of two dozen well-preserved bronze statues from an ancient Tuscan hot spring in San Casciano dei Bagni, central Italy.  (Italian Ministry of Culture via AP)
Archaeologists work at the site of the discovery of two dozen well-preserved bronze statues from an ancient Tuscan hot spring in San Casciano dei Bagni, central Italy. (Italian Ministry of Culture via AP)

“While there were social and civil wars outside the sanctuary…inside the sanctuary, the great elite of Etruscan and Roman families prayed together in a context of peace surrounded by conflict,” said Tabolli. “This possibility of rewriting the relationship and the dialectic between the Etruscans and the Romans is an exceptional opportunity.”

Some of the two dozen bronzes are whole figures of human-like deities, while others are individual body parts and organs that would have been offered as votive offerings to the gods for intervention for medical cures via thermal waters. , the ministry said in a statement.

A statue is seen at the site of the discovery of two dozen well-preserved bronze statues from an ancient Tuscan thermal spring in San Casciano dei Bagni in central Italy.  (Italian Ministry of Culture via AP)
A statue is seen at the site of the discovery of two dozen well-preserved bronze statues from an ancient Tuscan thermal spring in San Casciano dei Bagni in central Italy. (Italian Ministry of Culture via AP)

The discovery comes 50 years after the Bronze Warriors of Riace were found by a recreational diver in the waters of southern Calabria and have become one of Italy’s most spectacular archaeological finds. The 5th century bronzes, currently on display in the National Archaeological Museum of Reggio Calabria, depict two life-size, lifelike naked Greek warriors with wavy muscles and intricate curly beards.

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