ancient etruscan

Etruscan Bronze Helmet & Chest Armor, 500-450 BC

From Etruria, Northern Italy. A rare bronze Negau type helmet, breast and backplate ensemble, unusual for their preserved golden finish (as these were found in a river in superb condition).

Why have ancient suits of armor been found in rivers? Some have attributed this phenomenon to accidental losses; however, according to recent scholarship, discoveries of ancient armor in aquatic environments may be the result of intentional practices. Some have suggested that the ancients’ veneration of water played a significant role, that gear found in waters was the consequence of a conscious religious act, a dedication of armor and weapons as a religious rite. Others have argued that when ancient warriors who were forced into retreat came upon a river, they elected to toss their armor in the water, since it would be next to impossible to cross a river wearing such heavy gear.

Depositing the armor on the enemy’s land was not viewed upon as an attractive option, because the warriors feared that their foes would either use the armor to impersonate them during ensuing battles or melt the armor down for the valuable precious metals.

Orvieto is a town in the Province of Terni in Umbria. The site is among the most dramatic in Europe, rising above the almost-vertical faces of tuff cliffs that are completed by defensive walls built of the same stone. The ancient city, populated since Etruscan times, has been associated with Etruscan Velzna, but some modern scholars disagree. Orvieto was certainly a major center of Etruscan civilization; the archaeological museum houses some of the Etruscan artifacts that have been recovered in the immediate neighborhood.

Lekythos (oil container) in the Form of a Suspended Dead Hare

550-500 BCE


“Hunting hares was a popular sport among young men, and a vessel in the shape of the kill was an appropriate gift to a hunting companion. Similar containers are known from Corinth and Rhodes, but the type of clay and other details suggest that this example belongs to a group made by artisans of Greek origin who established workshops in Etruria in the middle of the 6th century BC.”