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 area of San Giovenale. The first news of finds in the area dates back to the end of the eighteenth century, but more consistent information refers to the years 1830-31, on the occasion of the works for the Via Cassia Nuova. However, 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. Research resumed in the 1960s. A salient feature of the necropolis is its urban organization, with a regular plan and roads set on orthogonal axes. The planners of the necropolis would therefore have proceeded to divide the area into lots, probably in relation to an existing or traced main road. As part of a general arrangement of the "master plan", the other roads that intersect at fairly regular orthogonal axes have been traced. The typical tombs of the necropolis, grouped into "blocks", are made up of rectangular rooms, mostly single. The access door was closed by a slab of internal tuff and a lining of tuff blocks aligned with the external walls of the tomb; between the slab and the wall was a filling of earth. The slab usually rests on the third step that descends to the entrance and hits the top against the third internal lintel. Given the limited width of the streets, it was avoided that two entrances faced each other, to prevent a mutual hindrance, where two facing tombs had been opened at the same time. Inside the tombs are built the docks for the deposition of the dead, usually two: one along the back wall and one along a side wall; both inhumed and cremated are buried in the tombs. Funerary inscriptions are engraved on the external architrave, testifying 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 from ...". Typical of the necropolis is the presence of a large number of inscriptions that testify forenames and nobility of the ancient inhabitants of Orvieto. They are perhaps the most consistent Etruscan epigraphic testimony of the Archaic age, referable to a single city community.