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Etruscan necropolis of Crocifisso del Tufo

Etruscan necropolis of Crocifisso del Tufo

The locality takes its name from a sixteenth-century crucifix carved in tuff and preserved in a chapel below the San Giovenale area. The first news of finds in the area date back to the end of the eighteenth century, but more substantial information refers to the years 1830-31, during the works for the Via Cassia Nuova. However, very intense research took place in the last thirty years of the nineteenth century, when a part of the necropolis was expropriated by the State and made open to visitors. The research resumed in the 1960s. A salient feature of the necropolis is its urban organization, with a regular plan and streets set on orthogonal axes. The planners of the necropolis would therefore have proceeded with a division of the area into lots, probably in relation to an already existing or planned main road. As part of a general arrangement of the "master plan", the other roads that intersect with orthogonal, fairly regular axes were traced. The typical tombs of the necropolis, grouped in "isolates", are made up of rectangular rooms, mostly single. The access door was closed by an internal tuff slab and a lining of tuff blocks aligned with the external walls of the tomb; between the slab and the wall there was a fill of earth. The slab usually rests on the third step leading down to the entrance and hits the third internal architrave at the top. Given the narrow width of the streets, it was avoided that two entrances faced each other, to prevent mutual obstruction, if two facing tombs were opened at the same time. Inside the tombs, platforms are built for the deposition of the deceased, usually two: one along the back wall and one along a side wall; both inhumed and incinerated are buried in the tombs. The funerary inscriptions are engraved on the external architrave, testifying to the name of the owner of the tomb; they often present the formula of possession according to which it is the tomb that speaks: "I am of...". Typical of the necropolis is the presence of a large number of inscriptions which testify to the names and nobles of the ancient inhabitants of Orvieto. They are perhaps the most consistent Etruscan epigraphic evidence of the archaic age, referable to a single city community.

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05018 Orvieto

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