Huge Treasure Trove Hoard Unearthed In Lost Italian Pre-Roman Royal Tomb
The tomb of a pre-Roman prince has been saved from ‘imminent’ destruction after aerial photos revealed the presence of an ancient treasure trove.
Among other precious items at the site in Corinaldo, Italy, archaeologists unearthed the remains of a complete chariot and a bronze helmet, as well as a variety of weapons including swords.
The hoard had gone undiscovered for thousands of years, and there had been plans to build a new sports complex on the land. However, an aerial survey put a firm stop to these construction plans.
University of Bologna archaeologist Professor Federica Boschi said:
We identified circular cropmarks, comparable to large funerary ring ditches. A large and slightly off-centre pit contained an extraordinary collection of cultural material.
It’s thought the burial site dates back to the seventh century BC, constructed for a prince of the Piceni people. Largely undocumented, the Piceni people’s land was annexed by Rome in 268 BC. This marks the only discovery of its kind within the region.
Professor Boschi explained:
As the first such monument identified and excavated in northern Marche, this has provided an extraordinary opportunity to investigate a site of the Piceni culture.
Until now, this culture has been poorly documented and little understood, despite its undoubted importance in the pre-Roman development of the area.
The recovery from complete obscurity and imminent danger of archaeological material of this scale and importance is a rare event within contemporary European archaeology.
The remains of the unidentified prince have not yet been found, and there is no mound to mark his final resting place. It’s thought both may have been destroyed following centuries of agriculture. However, the majestic nature of the tomb suggests this was a person of very high status.
Professor Boschi said:
The extraordinarily rich funerary deposit testifies to a high-status tomb dedicated to a princely leader within the early Iron Age society of the region. One outstanding find among the hundred or more ceramic vessels recovered from the pit was an olla imported from ancient Daunia.
This undoubtedly symbolises the commemorated leader’s significant political, military and economic power. The full study of the pottery and other finds will undoubtedly prompt entirely new insights into the cultural, trading and gift-exchange relationships of the aristocracy in the area.
After observing aerial photos of the burial site, archaeologists performed a resistivity survey, a process whereby electrical currents are run through the ground to check whether anything metallic had been buried there.
Professor Boschi said:
Aerial photography led to the first identification of the site. A resistivity survey then provided an initial understanding of the extent and internal articulation of the funerary area, including a third ring-ditch not revealed by the aerial photographs.
A targeted geomagnetic survey then produced significant information about the survival of the underground deposits, providing supporting secure evidence for a massive deposit of ironwork. The results achieved represent a good example of best practice.
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