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ACQUAROSSA. ROOF-TILES: VARIANTS. OBJECTS

Room 6

ACQUAROSSA. THE ACROTERIA

These elements were placed on the large ridge-tiles of the roof. Their function was decorative and the effect often quite striking, since many pieces were large and all apparently bore paint. The motifs, animal and vegetal, were drawn from the Orientalizing repertoire. Each piece was formed separately by cutting into a slab of prepared clay.
One single piece is entirely preserved, while the rest are more or less fragmentary. In some cases, we can form an idea of the original appearance even of a fragmentary unit by way of the miniature akroteria that occur on a class of roughly contemporary house urns (urns in the shape of rectangular houses for holding the ashes of the deceased).
The cut-out akroteria of Acquarossa, datable to around 600 BC, can be set alongside the corresponding examples from Poggio Civitate (Murlo), close to Siena: On present knowledge, the two sets are at the head of the tradition of Archaic akroteria in Etruria that brought forth the famous akroterial figures of Veii of c. 500 BC. Also, they bear witness to the tendency of decorating the ridge of the roof, which seems to have been a local trait going back to the Iron Age, judging by the cinerary urns in the shape of huts from that period.


THE ROOFS AT ACQUAROSSA. PHASE 3

Roof, phase 3, with roof-tile with opening

In the second quarter of the 6th century BC, a radical change is manifested in the roofs. From now on, the roofs of private houses show almost no type of decoration, painted or plastic. It is possible to recognize two different trends in the production of architectural terracottas: On the one hand, the mould-made relief plaques and female head antefixes, reserved for public buildings, possibly of a religious character, on the other, simple functional tiles for private buildings.
An almost completely new repertoire of tiles is introduced, much more functional than the preceding types. The enormous ridge-tiles of Type II, previously dominating, are replaced by a completely new model (Type III), smaller and easier to handle. It has semicircular holes in the sides for the insertion of cover-tiles. Pan-tiles with cuttings in the raised borders introduced a completely new system of fixing the roof-covering at the eaves. These cover-tiles with transversal crossbars were almost certainly combined with antefixes Type III, now the only antefix in use besides those with female heads. Akroteria, painted revetment plaques and simas were abandoned completely.
The mould-made relief decorations, the standardized dimensions and the terracottas designed to solve particular technical problems are thus the most characteristic traits of this phase, which presages the mass production of standardized tiles and bricks of the Roman late Republican and early Imperial periods.

OBJECTS

When we attempt to reconstruct daily life at Acquarossa, it is at once obvious that we lack much of the necessary information concerning the objects used on an everyday basis. No cloth has been preserved, and very little wood or bone; most metal objects have corroded or have been removed and re-used. What remains are mostly objects made of fired clay. Nevertheless, there is still enough left for us to get a general idea.
A small knife with a bone handle and part of its iron blade has survived as well as some iron nails, most probably used for building. Spear points have been found in the late Iron Age necropolis. Among the surviving bronze objects there are armlets, safety pins (fibulae), mountings, parts of a crushed bowl, and a small pendant in the shape of a monkey riding a double-headed animal. Two small faïence figures of the Egyptian lion goddess Sekhmet were found in a tomb (the same type of figures as found in the Bocchoris tomb in Tarquinia). Thus even objects from far-away countries such as Egypt reached as far inland as Acquarossa.
We have found terracotta objects for producing cloth: Spindle whorls, bobbins and loom-weights. Other useful objects were found, such as strainers, dippers, and polishers for burnishing the clay of pots before firing. For games and pastimes there were terracotta marbles and a die and part of a small female figure that may be the remains of a doll or perhaps an idol.
Inscriptions give us names, perhaps of inhabitants, and the beginning of the Etruscan alphabet. Last but not least, there are a few lamps, symbols of the ray of light that, through the darkness, gives us a glimpse of what life at Acquarossa must have been like.

AKTUELLT

Italiens statliga institut för grafik (Istituto Centrale per la Grafica) i Rom ledigförklarar tack vare ett projektsamarbete med Svenska Institutet i Rom fem vistelsestipendier för svenska studenter och forskare. Stipendiaterna erbjuds fritt deltagande i kurser vid Istituto Centrale per la Grafica om teckning och gravyr på både nybörjar- och avancerad nivå under en eller två veckor. För information om stipendierna och ansökningsförfarandet se:
http://itp.dger.beniculturali.it/
http://itp.dger.beniculturali.it/icg/
http://itp.dger.beniculturali.it/regulations/

 

San Giovenale - 2500 anni di tradizione viti-vinicola

I somras öppnades en ny utställningsdel i anslutning till det redan utställda materialet från de svenska utgrävningarna i Italien - San Giovenale och Acquarossa. Nu kan du ta del av utställningen på engelska, genom att klicka på postern. Vinutställningen visas annars på det Etruskiska Nationalmuseet i staden Viterbo.

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