Necropolis of Banditaccia

The Etruscan Necropolis of Banditaccia at Cerveteri is the main burial area of the ancient Caere and represents the grandest example of funerary architecture of the Etruscan culture and one of the most important archaeological sites in the Mediterranean.

Placed on a tufa plateau to the west of the ancient Civita, the necropolis was used since the seventh century. B.C. The area that can be visited, about twelve hectares, is known as “the fence” and was systematically excavated from 1909 until 1933 by Raniero Mengarelli (old fence) and, after World War II, by Mario Moretti (new fence). This ancient cemetery stretches for hundreds of hectares.

The tombs were excavated in the tufa rock, faithfully replicating the plan and furnishings of habitations of the same period. Following a chronological itinerary, you can follow and understand the evolution of Etruscan funerary architecture over more than six centuries. The most ancient tombs, dating from the beginning of the 7th century BC, are distinguished by their characteristic tumulus, one or more tombs, used by several generations of the same family, were built inside these huge circular mounds.

The interiors of the tombs show a common plan, two or three rooms arranged along a longitudinal axis; the ceiling, gabled and very ridged, alludes to a housing structure still similar to a hut. The necropolis, in its first phase, 7th _ 6th century BC, looks like an area dotted by huge tumuli, around which monumental emergents of the same shape, but smaller, are arranged.

Via Sepolcrale

Towards the second half of the 6th century BC (Archaic period) the tombs are built along parallel roads, taking on a more regular “cube” shape, the reflection of an egalitarian urban society, in which the tombs also assume a standard appearance.

Later, between the 4th and the 1st century BC, due to the exhaustion of available surface space, they start to use the subsoil, lowering the road levels and obtaining a series of considerably deep hypogea, some as large as the “Tomba dei Rilievi”, others more modest, with specific layouts. Once again the gap within the Etruscan society appears evident.