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Collections / Ricerca / Etruscan Collection: Villanovan phase (900-680 B.C.)

Miniaturised bronze andiron and spit

The andiron and the spit come from a luxurious female incineration tomb, one of the most significant of the Villanovan period in Bologna.

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The dead woman’s ashes in fact were inhumed with a plentiful set of properties for the personal embellishment, a bronze spindle and an outstanding dinner service with bronze and terracotta vessels. Imported items are also collected in this set of grave goods. These are a ceramic cup called skyphos, decorated with a chevron pattern, two faïence amulets and a small silver leech-type fibula (fibula a sanguisuga) that can be ascribed to the goldsmiths of Vetulonia. The presence of the andiron and the spit adds value to these evidently prestigious possessions. These objects used to roast meat – food then reserved for ruling classes – and connected to the fireside – the core of home, family and cultural life within a community – emerged in the Apennine peninsula since the second half of the 8th century B.C. and characterised, as a rule, the sepulchres of royal class warriors. On the other hand, spits and andirons – always miniaturised – are frequently discovered only in sumptuous female sepulchres, hinting at the feasible connection between these women and the sphere of hearth and home, or meat offering and banquet.

Provenance: Bologna, Melenzani Necropolis, tomb 22
Datation: 750 - 720 B.C.
Material: Bronze
Dimensions: height: 18,5 cm; length 32,5 cm.
Inventory #: 23773, 23774

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