TAP - Tuscania Archaeological Project

Sasso Pinzuto Necropolis (Tuscania, Italy) - Campaign 2022
Scientific direction: Prof. Alessandro Naso
Field Director: Dr. Martina Zinni

In collaboration with: University of Naples Federico II, Department of Humanities

  • fullslide1
    Campaign 2022
    Sasso Pinzuto Necropolis
    Tuscania (Italy)
  • fullslide1
    Campaign 2022
    Sasso Pinzuto Necropolis
    Tuscania (Italy)
  • fullslide1
    Campaign 2022
    Sasso Pinzuto Necropolis
    Tuscania (Italy)

The Archaeological Project

First objectives

The project aims to specify what is known in general terms regarding the Necropolis of Sasso Pinzuto, or Pizzuto in the current use, to deepen the archaeological knowledge of Tuscania in Etruscan era with particular reference to the Orientalizing and Archaic period (VII-VI century AC), in which the city played a major role in southern Etruria. The excavation is aimed at investigating the exposed sectors of the necropolis in detail, not only to highlight the most monumental architectures and clearly clarify the presence of architectural decoration slabs in a burial, but also to explore "minor" burials that they usually coronate the tombs of greater value and then verify the articulation of the social structure of the town. Along with the archaeological research, the investigation in the archives and museum deposits will also be developed in order to reconstruct the succession of interventions on the ground, identify the relevant findings in deposits and address their study, as well as promoting special collaborations with scholars who previously dealt with Tuscania.

The Sasso Pinzuto Etruscan Necropolis

An introduction to the archaeological site

The Etruscan necropolis of Sasso Pinzuto is known since the 30s of the nineteenth century for the entries in the accounts of British travelers as E. Hamilton Gray and G. Dennis, who visited also Toscanella, the current Tuscania. Over time the site has been excavated and researched mostly occasionally, still allowing us to outline its essential characteristics: there are at least 120 chamber tombs excavated into the tuff, which according to their layout and architectural features date from to the first half of the seventh century B.C. to the Hellenistic period (III-II cent. BC) and set in this period the use of the necropolis. The burial ground is attributed to the village located on the hill of San Pietro, but the vast extent, spread over several contiguous high hills, does not exclude the use also by other smaller communities that settled the territory. This applies especially for the sector more distant from the hill of San Pietro, the southern one known as Casale Galeotti from the name of the building, that was built in the nineteenth century, if not earlier, on the remains of the medieval church of San Ponente.
The explored tombs contained metal objects and pottery related not only to the grave goods deposited in ancient times, but also to subsequent frequentation of the necropolis. The funerary architectures include types from the most ancient rock cut pit tombs to those with a true room cut out in the tuff, divided into one or more rooms, each of which could be used by the same family for several generations. Among the architectures the mound is a dominant type containing a tomb with a transverse atrium and three cells on the long side opposite the entrance: this plan was drawn up in Caere (present Cerveteri) still in the seventh century. B.C. and it was used both in domestic and in sacred contexts in Etruria and Etruscan Campania. The few funerary testimonies present in other places in southern Etruria outside Caere, mainly corresponding to a tomb per site, document the spread of Cerveteri models based of the relationship established among the most prominent families of the respective centers. The mound tomb of Sasso Pinzuto-Casale Galeotti is distinguished from the others due to the presence, in addition to the remains of pottery and metal utensils relevant to the grave goods, of numerous fragments of clay slabs decorated stampings, such as the one chosen for the project logo, which originally did not decorated tombs, but buildings. Similar findings, discovered in Tuscania also in the Etruscan necropolis of Ara del Tufo, Polledrara and Pian di Mola, reveal that in the burial areas also existed buildings, in all likelihood destined to funerary cults.

Tuscania bibliography

With particular reference to Sasso Pinzuto

  • S. Quilici Gigli, Tuscana, Forma Italiae VII.2, Roma 1970.
  • G. Colonna, La cultura dell'Etruria meridionale interna con particolare riguardo alle tombe rupestri, in Aspetti e problemi dell'Etruria interna. Atti dell'VIII Convegno Nazionale di Studi Etruschi ed Italici, Orvieto 1972, Firenze 1974, pp. 253-265
  • G. Barker, T. B. Rasmussen, The Archaeology of an Etruscan Polis: a Preliminary Report on the Tuscania Project (1986 and 1987 Seasons), in BSR 56, 1988, pp. 25-42.
  • A.M. Sgubini Moretti, Tomba a casa con portico nella necropoli di Pian di Mola di Tuscania, in II Congresso Internazionale Etrusco, Roma 1989, pp. 321-335. 
  • T. B. Rasmussen, Tuscania and its Territory, in Roman Landscapes. Archaeological Survey in the Mediterranean Region (Archaeological Monographs of the British School at Rome, 2), London 1991, pp. 106-114.
  • A.M. Sgubini Moretti, Nuovi dati dalla necropoli rupestre di Pian di Mola di Tuscania, in Bollettino di Archeologia 7, 1991, pp. 23-38. 
  • C. Iaia, A. Mandolesi, Topografia dell’insediamento dell’VIII secolo in Etruria meridionale, Journal of Ancient Topography III, 1993, pp. 17-48. M. Rendeli, Città aperte, Roma 1993, pp. 246-282.
  • A.M. Sgubini Moretti, L. Ricciardi, Le terrecotte architettoniche di Tuscania, in Deliciae Fictiles I, 1993, pp. 163-181. A. Naso, Architetture dipinte, Roma 1996, 258-262, fig. 197 n. 7. A.M. Moretti Sgubini, Tuscania, in EAA II Suppl. (1971-1994), V, Roma 1997, pp. 870-871. A.M. Moretti Sgubini, Importazioni a Tuscania nell'Orientalizzante medio, in Damarato. Studi di antichità classica offerti a Paola Pelagatti, Roma 2000, pp. 181-194. 
  • G. Scardozzi, Tuscania, in Lo sguardo di Icaro. Le collezioni dell’Aerofototeca Nazionale per la conoscenza del territorio, a cura di M. Guaitoli, Roma 2003, pp. 253-257.
  • A. M. Moretti Sgubini, L. Ricciardi, Testimonianze di Tuscania, in A.M. Moretti Sgubini (ed.), Scavo nello scavo. Gli Etruschi non visti. Ricerche e “riscoperte” nei depositi dei Musei archeologici dell’Etruria meridionale. Catalogo della mostra, Viterbo 2004, pp. 63-67.
  • S. Costantini, L. Ricciardi, Contatti tra Tuscania e l’area orvietano-volsiniese: alcuni materiali, in AnnFaina 12, 2005, pp. 245-268.
  • A. M. Moretti Sgubini, Tuscania e Orvieto, in AnnFaina 12, 2005, pp. 213-244.
  • L. Ricciardi, Qualche nuovo dato da Tuscania, in M. Pandolfini Angeletti (ed.), Archeologia in Etruria Meridionale, Atti delle giornate di studio in ricordo di Mario Moretti, Civita Castellana 2003, Roma 2006, pp. 131-162. 
  • P. Petitti, Colle San Pietro, in Repertorio dei siti protostorici del Lazio. Province di Roma, Viterbo e Frosinone, Firenze 2007, 324-325.
  • N.A. Winter, Symbols of wealth and power. Architectural terracotta decoration in Etruria and Central Italy, 640-510 BC, Ann Arbor 2010, pp. 561-562.
  •  A.M. Moretti Sgubini, L. Ricciardi, S. Costantini, Ricerche nella necropoli di Guadocinto, in Daidalos 10, 2010, pp. 49-100.
  • A. M. Moretti Sgubini, L. Ricciardi, Considerazioni sulle testimonianze di Tuscania e di Vulci, in Tetti di terracotta. La decorazione architettonica fittile tra Etruria e Lazio in età arcaica, Roma 2011, pp. 75-86. 
  • A. M. Moretti Sgubini, L. Ricciardi, Terrecotte architettoniche di Guadocinto di Tuscania, in Deliciae Fictiles IV, ed. by P. Lulof, C. Rescigno, Oxford-Oakville 2011, pp. 155-163. 
  • A. M. Moretti Sgubini, Tuscania, in Bibliografia Topografica della Colonizzazione Greca in Italia XXI, Pisa, Roma, Napoli 2012, pp. 312-330. 
  • G. Scardozzi, La necropoli etrusca di Casale Galeotti a Tuscania: studio storico-topografico, in Atlante Tematico di Topografia Antica XXII, 2012, pp. 99-121. 
  • S. Bruni, Un corredo orientalizzante da Tuscania e le phorminges etrusche, in L’Etruria meridionale rupestre, atti del convegno internazionale, Barbarano Romano Blera 8-10.10.2010, Roma 2014, pp. 196-221. 
  • S. Costantini, L. Ricciardi, Lo spazio funerario intorno ai tumuli di Guadocinto a Tuscania, in AnnFaina 22, 2015, 637–651. 
  • A. M. Moretti Sgubini, Tumuli a Vulci, tumuli a Tuscania, in AnnFaina 22, 2015, 597–636. 
  • A. M. Moretti Sgubini, Una tomba infantile della necropoli di Sasso Pizzuto di Tuscania, in Mediterranea XV, 2018, pp. 309-322.
  • A.M. Moretti Sgubini, S. Costantini, Testimonianze della cultura di Tuscania tra orientalizzante antico e medio, in L’Etruria delle necropoli rupestri, atti del XXIX Convegno di Studi Etruschi e Italici, Tuscania, Viterbo. 26 – 28.10.2017, Roma 2019, 275-304.
  • G. Scardozzi, Gli ipogei della necropoli etrusca di Casale Galeotti (Tuscania): tipologie architettoniche e trasformazioni, in Daidalos 17, Miscellanea di archeologia, topografia antica e filologia classica, a cura di G.M. Di Nocera, Viterbo 2019, 81-128.
  • G. Barker, T. Rasmussen, In the Footsteps of the Etruscans. The Tuscania Archaeological Survey, London, in pres

Where is the Sasso Pinzuto Necropolis located

The necropolis is within the Caponetti property nearby Tuscania (VT, Italy)

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