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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Fu-turing at Cerveteri: Discovering the Etruscans through Digital Technology

RST is pleased to welcome guest blogger Theresa Potenza.  Based in Rome, Potenza is an art historian and freelance writer.  To learn more about her private tours of Rome and read her travel and feature stories about Italy check out:

Experience the past by leaping into the future.  At Banditaccia necropolis at Cerveteri, digital technology engages raw archaeology.  The long dead come to life—well, almost. 

The city of Cerveteri, located 28 miles (50km) north of Rome, was one of the largest cities of the Mediterranean before the Roman civilization.  Its burial site offers a taste of the complicated Etruscan religion and preoccupation with death and foregrounds the Etruscans’ skillful and creative construction techniques.

A new technology program at the site, called Fu-touring, enhances an already powerful in-person experience of a city of the dead.  Inside the technology center you can watch a 20-minute 3-D video providing just enough background on the people, burial practices, and art of Cerveteri to put the 25-acre (10-hectare) site into context.  Three of the tombs are enhanced inside with a 2-minute video that recreates where objects were placed along the walls, how the architectural space was carved, who was buried there, how their funerals took place in that space, and even reconstructs earthquakes and natural disasters to show how precious terra-cotta vases and other personal items were damaged over the centuries.  

Hundreds more tombs are available to visit in order to expand your imagination, including 9th century BC small hut tombs and dice tombs, resembling shop windows, set along a main road.

The most famous tombs are those of the 5th century BC, grande tumuli (mounded) tombs indicating an elite aristocratic class and built to imitate domestic architecture of the period.

Palazzo delle Esposizioni
April 15-July 20
These technological enhancements to one of most unique burial sites in the world, connected to a leading ancient city on a par with Athens and Rome, comes at a time when the Etruscan city of Cerveteri is in the spotlight in Rome.  An exhibition at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni--on from April 15th through July 20th --assembles some of the best collections of previous archaeological discoveries from inside these tombs from significant galleries around the world, including the Vatican Museums, Paris’ Louvre, and the British Museum in London. The exhibition incorporates some of the most remarkable and well-known finds from Cerveteri, as well as material recently discovered and never before revealed, providing new insight into this mysterious metropolis and the remarkably advanced pre-Roman civilization of the Etruscans.

Theresa Potenza

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