During a four-year excavation of an Etruscan well at the ancient Italian settlement of Cetamura del Chianti, a team led by a archaeologist and art historian unearthed artifacts spanning more than 15 centuries of Etruscan, Roman and medieval civilization in Tuscany.
Among the most notable finds: 14 Roman and Etruscan bronze vessels, nearly 500 waterlogged grape seeds and an enormous amount of rare waterlogged wood from both Roman and Etruscan times.
The bronze vessels, of different shapes and sizes and with varying decorations, were used to extract water from the well, which has been excavated to a depth of more than 105 feet.
[G]rape seeds, found in at least three different levels of the well -- including the Etruscan and Roman levels -- are of tremendous scientific interest, according to de Grummond.
"They can provide a key to the history of wine in ancient Tuscany over a period from the third century B.C.E. to the first century C.E.," she said. "Their excellent preservation will allow for DNA testing as well as Carbon 14 dating."
In the Etruscan religion, throwing items into a well filled with water was an act of religious sacrifice.
"Offerings to the gods were found inside in the form of hundreds of miniature votive cups, some 70 bronze and silver coins, and numerous pieces used in games of fortune, such as astragali, which are akin to jacks," she said.
The [105 foot deep] well, dug out of the sandstone bedrock of Cetamura, has three major levels: medieval; Roman, dating to the late first century B.C.E. and the first century C.E.; and Etruscan, dating to the third and second centuries B.C.E. Not fed by a spring or other water source, the well would accumulate rainwater that filtered through the sandstone and poured into the shaft from the sides.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Ancient Italian well and the artifacts within
Article: Excavation of ancient well yields insight into Etruscan, Roman and medieval times