Chris Rollston passed along this great article. Really fascinating stuff (if you’re into this sort of thing like ). It follows right along with my current book review (writing up my review of Chapter 2) of Ostler’s Ad Infinitum. Take a look:
Long pre-dating the Roman Empire, Italy was once inhabited by an advanced civilisation which greatly influenced the culture of Rome, the power that would eventually conquer them in the 3rd century and lead to the civilisation’s decline. With their origins shrouded in mystery, little evidence remains to tell the Etruscan story.
However, the area of Banditella near modern-day Marsiliana offers some hope for Etruscan scholars, and has been associated politically and economically with the influential Etruscan city of Vulci. Excavations were first carried out in the area in 1908 by Prince Tommaso Corsini who successfully excavated over one hundred graves, and the discovery of the Marsiliana d’ Albegna tablet has been confirmed as the earliest abecedarian helping shed light on the language of these ancient people.
Focussing on the land surrounding the resort of Maremma, the Marsiliana d’Albegna project – one of the largest archaeological excavations and research activities in Italy – is now entering its ninth season and aims to contribute to the knowledge and understanding of this important historic site and the people who inhabited it. Located near Grosseto in Tuscany, fieldwork is being undertaken under the direction of the Superintendent of Cultural Heritage of Tuscany, the Department of Archaeology and History of Arts at the University of Siena, and non-profit organisation Etruria Nova. This successful collaboration has led to the establishment of an international field school (see below), and has already produced extensive scientific data confirming the importance of the settlement.
Having risen to prosperity and power, the disappearance of the Etruscan civilisation has left many questions within archaeology and academia regarding its origins and culture. The few examples of Etruscan writing left behind consist primarily of short tomb epigrams and genealogical information, and no works of Etruscan literature survived, if they even existed.
Give it a read.