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Melone II° del Sodo - Tomb Two

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Cortona il Melone II° del Sodo: Tomb IIUndiscovered until 1992, excavations on this tomb were carried out in early 1992 by the Soprintendenza Archeologica della Toscana.

This tomb had a tumulus construction. The abundance of large blocks of tufa rock and sandstone indicate that part of the covering must have collapsed at one stage or another. The tomb was probably raided in antiquity, following the collapse of the structure.

The layout of the tomb is made up of a dromos (m.2 x m.1.50) and two funerary cells with separating walls. The walls of both the dromos and the two cells are low and built in slabs of sandstone bound together by clay, presenting a rough exterior.

The first cell is 2.30 metres wide and 2.60 metres long, with a bench on the left wall. The second cell is larger, measuring 4 metres in width and 2.70 metres in length, with three benches placed in the perimeter walls.

Four sarcophagi in stone, in poor condition, were still placed in their original position on the benches of the two cells when the tomb was discovered. The sarcophagi still contained parts of the remains of their occupants and a fifth sarcophagus was placed leaning against the far bench of the second cell. The chest-shaped sarcophagi still retained some of their decorative elements. Two small clay urns and three sandstone urns, of which one was seriously damaged, were placed near the entrance of the second cell. Of the two urns that were found to be in the best condition, one is decorated with a gorgon shape and both bear inscriptions.

All the materials discovered in the tombs are at the Museo dell'Accademia Etrusca along with all the other finds unearthed in this burial ground. Most of the interesting finds come from the second cell and indicate that this tomb was used for a long time, from the early 5th century BC until the late 4th century BC and onwards until at least the 1st century AD.

Fibula aurea proveniente dal Melone II del Sodo
The first burial stage coincides with the sarcophagi in ‘pietra fetida’ and the finest objects of daily use and personal adornment. These include women’s golden necklaces decorated with amber, rock crystal, stones and coloured glass beads (see the fibula aurea in the photo).

Some objects in alabaster and decorated bronze fragments that were perhaps part of vases or small chests also date from this period.

The objects concerning a more masculine way of life include a number of iron weapons and a dagger decorated with a statuette of Heracles. There is also an iron strigil and elements that belonged to one or more diphroi (regular stools). Along with the dagger, these elements indicate that the occupant of this tomb must have been a high-ranking public official. Together with the objects in gold, they testify to the high lineage of the family buried here.

The materials that date from the successive period in which the tomb was used include parts of a Volterra kelebe vase and fragments of black vases. Other metal utensils and everyday ceramic dating from later periods are also present.



For more detailed information on 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

Alcune delle 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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