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24 Etruscan-Roman Bronze Statues Discovered at the Sanctuary of San Casciano dei Bagni

Updated: Apr 24, 2023

Buried in mud for more millennia, 24 bronze statues were discovered by Tuscan archaeologists in the excavations begun in 2019 in San Cacsciano dei Bagni near Siena.Protected for 2,300 years from the mud and hot water of the sacred tanks, a votive deposit never seen before has re-emerged in Tuscany: together with the statues found more than 5000 gold and silver coins and various metals and also various votive offerings guy.The statues re-emerged from the excavations in the Tuscan town, intact, in perfect condition. Five are almost a meter high. Among the most surprising is that of a young ephebe, a statue of Hygieia, the goddess of health, with a snake coiled on her arm. And then Apollo, other divinities, matrons, children, emperors.

It is the "most important discovery from the Riace bronzes and certainly one of the most significant bronzes ever made in the history of the ancient Mediterranean". These are the words of the director general of the state museums Massimo Osanna commenting on the incredible discovery in San Casciano dei Bagni, in the province of Siena.

An extraordinary discovery and that is why over 60 experts from all over the world are already at work ", said the archaeologist Jacopo Tabolli, a young professor at the University for Foreigners of Siena, who has been leading the project since 2019. it is undoubtedly an "absolutely unique" treasure, accompanied by an incredible amount of inscriptions in Etruscan and Latin. And again: thousands of coins and a series of equally interesting vegetable offerings. The Minister of Culture Gennaro Sangiuliano, who has already visited the restoration laboratory, he is enthusiastic. "An exceptional find all this confirms once again that Italy is a country full of incredible and unique treasures. The stratification of different civilizations is unique to Italian culture, "he said.

The exceptional state of conservation of the statues within the hot spring water also allowed the preservation of wonderful inscriptions in Etruscan and Latin. The inscriptions contain the names of powerful Etruscan families from the territory of internal Etruria, from the Velimna of Perugia to the Marcni known in the Sienese countryside. Alongside onomastics and dedicatory forms in Etruscan we find inscriptions in Latin, which also mention the "aquae calidae", the hot springs of the Bagno grande, where the statues were placed.

Most of these ancient masterpieces date back to the 2nd century BC. and the 1st century AD, a historical period of important transformations in ancient Tuscany, in the transition between Etruscans and Romans. In this era of great conflicts between Rome and the Etruscan cities, but also of struggles within the social fabric of the city, the noble Etruscan families in the sanctuary of Bagno grande, in a phase in which the expansion of Rome also means cultural osmosis, they dedicated the statues to sacred water. An absolutely unique multicultural and multilingual context of peace, surrounded by political instability and war.

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