Lecture 2. Chthonic Cerveteri and Tarquinia: Etruscan Cities of the Dead

The second lecture will focus specifically on the ritual death practices and tomb architecture of Cerveteri and Tarquinia (both sites jointly recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites). The partially subterranean, rock-cut tombs have significant global ties to Greece, Syria, and West Asia as well as earlier Celtic tombs. Like other chthonic work, a distinct language of spaces results from a geologically-dependent, subtractive architecture. And yet, these spaces remain linked to the above-ground, free-standing architecture and landscape. As two separate necropoli, Cerveteri and Tarquinia collectively display a nuanced Etruscan vision of the after-life, with many commonalities yet also important distinctions. Both were located near Etruscan settlements, and clearly delineated as ‘cities of the dead’ with their own pathways and layout. Cerveteri is notable for its multitude of assembled stone and earth tumuli (mimicking the surrounding hills) and rock-cut tombs within and below. Tarquinia retains fewer of the tumuli, but more elaborate, decorative frescos and sarcophagi modeled on Etruscan residences. Each individual tomb shows different ties to other global sites through its carving method, architectural detailing, decorative pottery and other attributes. 1. Early Tomb Architecture + Global Precedents. 2. Cerveteri 3. Tarquinia 4. Other Etruscan Tombs + Global Ties.

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