ROME (AP) – Italian authorities on Tuesday announced the extraordinary discovery of bronze statues more than 2,000 years old at an ancient Tuscan hot spring and said the discovery will “rewrite history” of the transition of Etruscan civilization to the Roman Empire.
The find, in 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 1972 underwater discovery of Riace’s famous bronze warriors, said Massimo Osanna, director of the Ministry of Culture. museums.
Thanks to the mud that protected them, the figurines were found in a perfect state of preservation. 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.
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 between the 2nd and the 1st century 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 bear both Etruscan and Latin inscriptions.
“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 humans or gods, while others are individual body parts and organs that would have been offered to the gods for intervention for medical cures via hot spring waters, it said. the ministry in a statement.
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