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Melone II° del Sodo - The Altar Platform

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INDICE | LA I° TOMBA | LA PIATTAFORMA ALTARE | LA II° TOMBA


Cortona il Melone II° del Sodo: The Altar PlatformOpposite the first tomb, eastwards towards Cortona, the digs carried out by the Soprintendenza Archeologica della Toscana from 1990 have unearthed a vast altar platform that would have been used for performing funerary rituals.

A flight of steps, of which six remain, leads up to the platform. The steps are made from carved stone blocks with carved decorations depicting two warriors armed with daggers as they fend off an attack by wild beasts. The decorations are probably a symbolic allusion to the struggle between life and death.

Only the left hand external surface of the platform has been reconstructed so far (1994-5). A first step marks the edge of the platform, with other surrounding architectural details and three large palms for decoration. This is the only Etruscan tomb to have retained a funerary altar with some of its sculptures. It was probably erected in the early 6th century BC and has stylistic affinities with objects from the inner areas of the Etruscan dominions, from Chiusi to Florence, in particular items of carved ivory that exerted an influence over the sculpture that followed.



Burials Near the Altar Platform
During the excavations carried out in the eastern area of the burial ground a total of 17 tombs were found near the steps leading up to the altar platform. These tombs date from at least two periods, with four tombs erected here prior to the altar’s collapse and the others dating up until the late-Republican period under Rome in the 1st century AD. This indicates that the entire area was used as a cemetery well after the altar platform was built. Most of the tombs are simple graves containing humble funerary objects. While some are almost completely destroyed, others have survived well enough to identify the kind of covering that was used for the coffin. The presence of nails in some of the graves indicates that a wooden coffin was used.



INDICE | LA I° TOMBA | LA PIATTAFORMA ALTARE | LA II° TOMBA


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For more detailed information regarding this monument consult
La Cortona dei Principes, Catalogo della Mostra. Cortona 1992, pp. 121-167 e AA.VV. Il Museo dell'Accademia Etrusca di Cortona, pp.95-112.

[Le informazioni riportate sono tratta da Schede in distribuzione gratuita di un Ciclostilato a cura della Sezione Didattica della Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Toscana, via della Pergola 65, Firenze. Testo del ciclostilaro a cura di Paola Zamarchi Grassi

Le immagini fotografiche sono tratte dai materiali del progetto "Archaeology without barriers", promosso dal Comune di Cortona (con partner Francia – Associazione Memoire et Patrimoine, Parigi - e Grecia – Soprintendenza ai Beni Bizantini di Salonicco), finanziato dalla Commissione Europea, Divisione Formazione e Cultura, nell’estate 2001, all’interno del Programma di finanziamenti “Cultura 2000”. Per ulteirori informazioni sul progetto si prega di contattare il Comune di Cortona, Assessorato alla Cultura]
 

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