Italian archaeologists discover over two dozen ancient bronze statues

Italy Ancient Discovery
A statue is seen at the site of the discovery of two dozen well-preserved bronze statues from an ancient Tuscan thermal spring in San Casciano dei Bagni, central Italy, in this undated photo made available by the Italian Culture Ministry, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. (Italian Culture Ministry via AP) AP

Italian archaeologists discover over two dozen ancient bronze statues

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Italian archaeologists found dozens of bronze statues of deities from the Etruscan era between the second century B.C. and the first century A.D. in Tuscany, Italy, archaeologists announced Tuesday.

Jacopo Tabolli, the Etruscan specialist who led the project, said it was an “unparalleled” discovery that promised to shed new light on the period. It was discovered during a three-year excavation of the site that also uncovered 5,000 gold, silver, and bronze coins.

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“The Tuscan site is the largest deposit of bronze statues from the Etruscan and Roman age ever discovered in ancient Italy and one of the most significant in the entire Mediterranean,” Tabolli told Reuters. “It is unparalleled, especially because until now the statues from that period have mainly been terracotta.”

The statues are of deities that were venerated at a sanctuary in San Casciano dei Bagni. The sanctuary was established first by the Etruscans and expanded under the Romans, according to Italy’s culture ministry, and includes statues of the Roman god Apollo and Hygieia, the goddess of health. Other smaller statues were also discovered.

The warm waters in Tuscany helped preserve the bronze statues well enough that inscriptions in Etruscan and Latin are still visible and showcase the names of important Etruscan families, Tabolli said.

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The statues are among the most remarkable discoveries “in the history of the ancient Mediterranean” and the most significant since two bronze statues of Greek warriors that date back to the fifth century B.C. were uncovered in Southern Italy in 1972, according to Massimo Osanna, the director general of Italy’s state museums.

The statues have been taken to a restoration laboratory near the site, but they will eventually be put on display in a new museum in San Casciano, the culture ministry told the outlet.

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