After a very busy week of traveling throughout Tuscany, our first road trip of the term has come to an end. Early this morning, we packed our bags in Tarquinia and headed back to Rome. Before reaching Rome, however, we had one final stop, Cerveteri — or as the Romans called it Caere. Originally, Cerveteri was a very important and prominent southern Etruscan city due to its port in Pyrgi. Because of Pyrgi, Cerveteri gained prominence through its trading practices throughout the Mediterranean and near East.
As we climbed off the bus at the Necropolis known as the Banditaccia Cemetery (650-100 B.C.) eager to explore the acres of tumuli, dark ominous clouds rolled in with threats of an imminent downpour. In an attempt to beat the rain, we quickly headed into the first tomb (The Tomb of the Thatched Hut, early 7th century B.C.) to discuss the layout of the Necropolis and create a hasty exit strategy in the event of a complete washout. The Necropolis itself contained tumuli dating from the 7th and 6th centuries B.C., as well as a few from the 4th century B.C. and offered hours upon hours of exploration. Given the weather forecast, however, we settled on spending about an hour and a half exploring on our own and then meeting at the Tomb of the Capitals for Aaron’s presentation.
With raingear in hand, we broke off into groups of three or four to explore the Necropolis. Some groups went to the Tomba della Cornice (late 6th century B.C.) to obtain the measurements and details necessary to complete one of two prompts for our second paper while others wandered through the Necropolis, popping into and out of tombs along the way. It was during these explorations that we came face to face with a very creepy hooded manikin lurking in the corner of one of the tombs! After the initial shock (and a few of us actually running out of the tomb), a few brave individuals went back into the tomb for a closer look and realized the figure was part of a recreation of an Etruscan burial ceremony. Either way, still creepy ….
Remarkably by this time the rain was still being held at bay, so we headed to the Tomb of the Capitals (mid-late 6th century B.C). Aaron’s presentation provided us with an in depth look into the plan of the tomb as well as a comparison with other tombs at the Necropolis as well as other tombs we had seen on the Road Trip. Not wishing to test our luck, we hurried to the Tomb of The Reliefs (4th century B.C.), grabbed a quick snack at the bar, and headed back to the bus.
Back in Rome, we said goodbye to Carlo, our lively driver, and made our way back to the apartments to unpack and settle in for the evening. An attempt was made to watch Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark but we were all so exhausted that few of us actually stayed awake for the entire movie. We had a wonderful week of traveling throughout Tuscany but it’s nice to be back in Rome for the next couple of weeks.
Until next time!
Elizabeth (aka Liz)
Although the sky was gray and bleak, the group ventured forth along the paths of the Banditaccia Necropolis.
Bridget-Kate creates a ring of flowers in hopes of warding off the rain.
Teddy is not impressed with the exterior moulding on this tumulus.
Just chillin' in the dromos, observing the side chambers and fending off spiders.
Group photo time!
Some of these tombs are very dark and quite creepy. At least this one didn't have a fake mannequin in it.
Aaron lectures on the “palatial” architecture seen in the Tomb of the Capitals.
Jiyoung is thrilled to see the wonders within the tomb. So exciting!
Then spirits were dampened by the arrival of another pop quiz.
Tombe a dado, known for their cube-like shapes and consecutive placement along a street, are the ancient equivalent of a condominium complex in the Banditaccia Necropolis.
Of course, no visit to Cerveteri is complete without a gathering of cats outside the entrance gate.