Archaeological Museum of Bologna

Museo Civico Archeologico
Via dell'Archiginnasio 2 - 40124 Bologna

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Via de' Musei 8 – 40124 Bologna
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Collections / Ricerca / Etruscan Collection: Villanovan phase (900-680 B.C.)


The Etruscan civilization - that in the oldest phase is called "Villanoviana" - developed from the end of X - the beginning of the IX century BC in Tuscany, in Lazio to the north of Tiber (Tyrrhenian Etruria), in Emilia-Romagna (Padana Etruria, with Bologna and Verucchio territories) and in Campania (Campana Etruria, in the Salernitano).
The term "Villanoviano" comes from Villanova of Castenaso (Bologna), place where in 1853 the count Giovanni Gozzadini discovered for the first time tombs attributable to this phase, characterized by the rite of cremation within biconical vase. Similar tombs were found shortly afterwards in the main sites of Tyrrhenian Etruria, highlighting the existence of a uniform culture, extended mainly between the courses of Arno and Tiber, with projections to Campania in the south and Po Valley in the north.
In the Bologna area, with the beginning of the early Iron Age (IX century BC) there is a significant increase of the population, with the birth of new settlements, consisting by villages of huts, flanked by a distinct area, used for burials (necropolis).
The economic base of the Etruscan community of Bologna derived mainly from agriculture, supplemented by activities such as cattle ranching, hunting and fishing. Also the handicraft production was important, carried out in part in domestic environment, partly in real workshops. Among the specialized handicraft activities had an absolute preeminence the metallurgy.
The geographical position of Bologna, in the middle of important communication south-north ways, meant that the center had an increasing importance role in the contacts between the Centre-Italic area- especially Tyrrhenian Etruria - and Transalpine Europe. The control of these itineraries, together with the possession of vast landholdings, formed the base of the wealth and the power of the great aristocratic families of Bologna in the villanovan period.

Exhibition rooms | Room X - Etruscan Bologna