24 bronze statues in excellent condition, votive offerings and other objects, as well as five thousand gold, silver and bronze coins were recovered from the mud during excavations of the ancient baths of San Casciano dei Bagni, in the province of Siena, center Italywhich is considered one of the most significant finds in ancient history.
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24 bronze statues in excellent condition, votive offerings and other items, as well as five thousand gold, silver and bronze coins were recovered from the mud during excavations of the ancient baths of San Casciano dei Bagni, in the province of Siena, in the center of Italy.
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The sanctuary, with its pools, sloping terraces, fountains, altars, has existed since at least the 3rd century BC. C. and remained active until the 5th century AD. C. when in Christian times it was closed but not destroyed.
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The pools were sealed with heavy stone columns, so that by removing this cover, archaeologists found themselves in front of an intact treasure.
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“A discovery that will rewrite history and is already being worked on by more than 60 experts from around the world,” said the etruscologist in charge of the excavations, Jacopo Tabolli.
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The one in Siena is the largest repository of Etruscan and Roman era bronze statues ever discovered in Italy, and one of the most important in the entire Mediterranean.
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Impressive statues were removed from the mud of the old baths and represented the deities worshiped in the sacred place, and with them were also restored some bronze body parts that were offered to the gods for the healing intervention of the deity through the hot springs.
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Among the statues recovered from the hot mud are images of Hygieia and Apollo, as well as a bronze reminiscent of the famous Arringator, a statue found many years ago in the region of Perugia and depicting the figure of the orator Aulus Metellus, an Etruscan senator. during the Roman Republic.
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The researchers note that the exceptional state of preservation of the statues inside the hot springs also allowed for the preservation of Etruscan and Latin inscriptions that were engraved prior to their creation.
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Probably made by local craftsmen, the 24 statues, Tabolli explains, date from the period between the second century BC and the first century AD, a historical period of important transformation in ancient Tuscany, during the transition from the Etruscans to the Romans.
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The inscriptions contain the names of powerful Etruscan families from the territory of Inner Etruria, from Velimna Perugia to Markni, known in Siena.
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Tabolli argues that this discovery “is a unique opportunity to rewrite the history of ancient art, and with it the history of the transition between the Etruscans and the Romans in Tuscany.”