Following an initial excavation of two weeks, the archaeological team revealed details of the earliest discoveries.
The building’s walls were made of blocks of dried clay, the first ever example of Etruscan-made brick, said Rafanelli. Clay plaster was also found, along with a door handle and the remains of bronze furniture. Of particular interest is the basement of the house. Built of drystone this was apparently used as a cellar for storing food supplies. A massive pitcher which stood in the corner of the main room was used to hold grain.
Other finds include the original flooring of the house, made of crushed earthenware plaster, along with remains of vases, amphorae and plates painted black.
A large quantity of metal nails in the house, along with their placements, indicates the main room might have once contained a kind of mezzanine level built from wooden beams. Six Roman and Etruscan coins discovered on a small alter inside the structure suggest it collapsed in 79 BC, during a period of war sparked by the Roman general Lucius Cornelius Sulla.
Experts believe the building, which was used both as a home and for commercial activity, belonged to a wealthy and influential family at the time of its collapse. The variety of styles discovered so far indicates it was extended and renovated several times during its three centuries of existence. “The building was part of the ancient town of Vetulonia and is much older than other sections of the town uncovered so far,” said Rafanelli. “We also want to work towards transforming this building into an open air museum,” she added, promising the excavations would continue.
Not sure if this is the one mentioned by Francesca Tronchin on Twitter (if so, tip o’ the pileus!):
An ancient Etruscan home dating back more than 2,400 years has been discovered outside Grosseto in central Italy. Hailed as an exceptional find, the luxury home was uncovered at an archeological site at Vetulonia, 200 kilometres north of Rome.
Archeologists say it is rare to find an Etruscan home intact and believe the home was built between the 3rd and 1st century BC.
Using six Roman and Etruscan coins uncovered at the home, archeologists believe the house collapsed in 79 AD during wars unleashed by Roman general and dictator, Lucio Cornelio Silla.
Archeologists have discovered a large quantity of items which have revealed a great deal about life in the home and the construction techniques of the era.
“These are the best ruins that have ever been found in Italy,” said Simona Rafanelli, director of the Isidoro Falchi archeological museum in Vetulonia, told journalists.
“They represent something incredibly important from an archeological and historical point of view, because they finally give us an understanding of new techniques linked to Etruscan construction that we did not know until today.
“Here today we are rewriting history. It is a unique case in Italy because with what we have found we will be able to completely reconstruct the entire house.”
From the ruins they discovered a basement or cellar in which the family is believed to have stored foodstuffs.
A beautiful earthenware pot was found in the corner of the room and an olive press.
Pieces of vases and plates were also uncovered at the house, while the walls were made of sun-dried clay bricks.