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Excavation

  • Grotte Scalina
  • Musarna
  •  
  • Italy
  • Latium
  • Provincia di Viterbo
  • Viterbo

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Summary (English)

  • This season’s excavations (undertaken by CNRS, UMR8546, Paris and the University of Paris I, ED 112) investigated three sectors: the main underground chamber of the monumental tomb, the dromos of the second underground chamber, and the cistern of a small oppidum situated about 100 m to the east.

    For the ancient period, the excavation of the main burial chamber revealed several anomalies for a late 4th century B.C. aristocratic tomb within the territory of Tarquinia. Such anomalies are represented by the very rough characteristics of its internal architecture, the simplicity of the nine sarcophagi, the scarcity of the epigraphic documentation, and the absence of materials pre-dating the 3rd century B.C. (while the materials from the external terrace of the tomb and dromos fill includes red-figure pottery). The continuation of the excavations should clarify these anomalies.

    The excavation of the dromos of the second chamber suggests the funerary chamber was used in the modern period, unlike the main chamber, for new burials. Therefore, its excavation is of great interest regarding the way in which an Etruscan tomb was adapted for reuse.

    Regarding the modern period, a Jubilee medal dating to the late 17th century was a surface find, which probably came from a burial. It confirms ritual use of the tomb, at least from the 16th to 18th centuries, documenting a link between Grotte Scalina and the pilgrim route along the nearby via Francigena, offering an invaluable key to the understanding of why the monument was completely cleaned, probably during the 16th century, without however being used for any practical purpose. The imitation door and rock cut steps reference the Holy door and Holy steps in Rome.

    The excavation of the cistern, in addition to providing a homogeneous context dating to the early 1st century A.D., was of particular interest for its exceptional typology: to date, the presence of two columns inside it has no parallels in the architecture of this region. The materials collected from the fill exclude a medieval dating, and suggest that it was created at the beginning of the Hellenistic period, when the small oppidum must have become part of Musarna’s larger defensive system.

Director

  • Vincent Jolivet, CNRS

Team

  • Edwige Lovergne, ED 112, Università di Paris I

Research Body

  • CNRS
  • École normale supérieure (Paris)

Funding Body

  • Association archéologique Pharos
  • CNRS
  • Fondazione Carivit
  • Labex TransferS
  • École normale supérieure (Paris)

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