A group of archaeologists discovered ancient coins and 24 bronze statues over 2,000 years old beautifully preserved, in a sacred hot spring in the Tuscany region of Italy.
According to the researchers, this extraordinary discovery will “rewrite the story” of the transition from Etruscan civilization to the Roman Empire between the 2nd and 1st centuries BC. vs.
The Italian Ministry of Culture Explain that more than 60 experts from around the world will examine the 24 figurines, which were protected by mud in a set of sacred pools connected to a spring, which in Etruscan times was a religious sanctuary known as Bagno Grandein the municipality of San Casciano dei Bagni, province of Siena (Tuscany), about 100 miles north of Rome.
The incredible treasure discovered
The bronze sculpture, They were found in a perfect state of preservation thanks to the mud that protected them. Next to them were 5,000 gold, silver and bronze coins. Entire figures of deities, individual body parts and organs that would have been offered as offerings to the gods have also been found.
Statue of a goddess and some coins in gold, silver and bronze dating from the reigns of Augustus, emperors Flavius, Trajan, Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius. Credits: Emanuele Mariotti / SABAP-SI.
Likewise, the goddess igea, goddess of health and cleanliness, with a snake wrapped around her arm; from whose name we get the word “hygiene”. Statues representing the god apollogod of healing and protection against evil forces alongside mortals such as emperors, matrons and children.
A fact that caught the attention of researchers was to find in the statues contemporary inscriptions in Latin and Etruscandemonstrating that the Etruscan and Roman families prayed together to the deities in the sacred sanctuary of the baths, despite the conflicts that marked the end of Etruscan civilization and the expansion of the Roman Empire into what is now central Italy (the present-day regions of Tuscany , Umbria and Lazio).
“While between the 2nd and 1st centuries BC. BC, the social and civil wars took place outside the sanctuary, inside it the great families of the Etruscan and Roman elites made common offerings, a context of peace surrounded by conflicts. This opportunity to rewrite the relationship between Etruscans and Romans is an exceptional opportunity,” he explained. Jacopo Tabolliexcavation coordinator for the University for Foreigners of Siena.
The discovery of the well-preserved statues has been hailed as the largest of its kind in 50 years. Credit: Jacopo Tabolli/Universita per Stranieri di Siena/EPA
The site, including the spa area, fountains and religious altars, is believed to have been first built by the Etruscans around the 3rd century BC. It was expanded during the Republic and Empire Romans, reflecting its growing popularity at that time. Even emperors, like August, they frequented the thermal baths for their therapeutic benefits; the thermal baths here bubbled with water rich in minerals, such as calcium and magnesium.
First to enjoy the hot springs
This ancient hot springs site holds an incredible treasure. Courtesy of the Italian Ministry of Culture.
The Etruscans were an Italian people who fostered a thriving civilization and vibrant culture in the lands that make up the present-day regions of Tuscany and Umbria in central Italy, known as Etruria.
They lived there quite happily for about 500 years until they were conquered by the expanding Roman Republic. Despite this, his legacy survived, as Etruscan customs had a pronounced influence on Rome’s culture and artistic preferences. Such influence is dramatically displayed in the 24 recently unearthed statues.
This ancestral city was the first to build structures for hot springsHowever, it was under the rule of the Romans, true enthusiasts of these places, that the healing properties of these waters acquired their great appeal.
The site remained in use until the 5th century and was closed after Christianity became the official religion of rome. The pools were sealed with stone pillars and the statues lining the buildings were thrown into the pools.
Some of the statues discovered. Courtesy of the Italian Ministry of Culture.
As the Italian Ministry of Culture explains, this find represents the largest deposit of bronzes from this period in Italy, a remarkable event, since most of the preserved statues from this period are mainly in terracotta.
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