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Huge Etruscan Road Brought To Light
Discovery News ^ | 6-16-2004 | Rossella Lorenzi

Posted on 06/17/2004 3:38:42 PM PDT by blam

Huge Etruscan Road Brought to Light

By Rossella Lorenzi, Discovery News

The Excavated Road

June 16, 2004 — A plain in Tuscany destined to become a dump has turned out to be an archaeologist's dream, revealing the biggest Etruscan road ever found.

Digging in Capannori, near Lucca, archaeologist Michelangelo Zecchini has uncovered startling evidence of an Etruscan "highway" which presumably linked Etruscan Pisa, on the Tyrrhenian coast, to the Adriatic port of Spina.

Passing through Bologna, the ancient "two-sea highway" runs just a few meters away from today's modern highway which links Florence to the Tyrrhenian coast.

"It all started with the discovery of four big stones. I realized they could not lie in an alluvial plain by chance. As we dug a sample area, we found a large road still bearing the ruts left by chariots 2,500 years ago," Zecchini told Discovery News.

Dating to the end of the 6th century B.C., the seven-meter-wide (23-foot) road supported intense chariot traffic towards Spina, an Etruscan-controlled trading emporium where Etruscan and Greeks lived and worked together, and through which were imported great quantities of Greek goods.

"A great amount of information, including tombs, monuments and villages, lie hidden along this road," Zecchini said.

The ancient highway was also mentioned by Greek geographer Skylax, who in the 4th century B.C. wrote that a great road linked Pisa with Spina by a three-day journey.

Zecchini and his team have so far brought to light a 200-meter-long (656-foot) section. The discovery took place in an area that, from the 6th century A.D. until 1850, contained a large and rather deep lake.

The lake gave birth to the legend of Sextum, a rich and powerful city that disappeared under a terrible flood.

Sixteenth-century texts found in Lucca's archives recount fishermen who could see the remains of a submerged city on the bottom of the lake. They even used the city's streets and square as reference points for their fishing.

"Our archeological survey has shown that the remains do not belong to the legendary Sextum, but to innumerable ancient Roman farms. Indeed the area has been dubbed 'the plain of the 100 farms.' But nobody would have ever imagined that this plain could hide such an imposing road," Zecchini said.

The archaeologist hopes to uncover at least 15 kilometers (nine miles) of the ancient road.

"This is a fantastically important discovery for many reasons. It confirms the importance of the Etruscan roads which linked the great cities of Etruria, which have not been found so far because they lay beneath the later Roman roads. This section of the road was long covered over by a lake, a fact which accounts for its excellent condition, which will allow archaeologists to study details of its construction," Larissa Bonfante, professor of classics at New York University and an authority on the Etruscan civilization, told Discovery News.

Bonfante added that the road's early date — the archaic period of 500 B.C. — means that it was made and used during the period of the Etruscans' greatest power and influence, when they had extended their influence south to Rome.

"They had craftsmen who specialized in making various types of chariots, including the sturdy vehicles with standard widths which left the ruts on this road," Bonfante said.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: archaeology; brought; etruscan; ggg; godsgravesglyphs; history; huge; light; road

1 posted on 06/17/2004 3:38:43 PM PDT by blam
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To: farmfriend
Click for: Chariot Wheel Ruts
2 posted on 06/17/2004 3:42:47 PM PDT by blam
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To: blam
cool.


3 posted on 06/17/2004 3:43:16 PM PDT by glock rocks (Can I get you something? Here's a pine cone.)
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To: blam

Good! Wake me when you find a Latin-Etruscan dictionary ;)


4 posted on 06/17/2004 3:45:17 PM PDT by Graymatter (Let's issue a new $40 bill to honor our 40th president)
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To: blam; SunkenCiv

What happened to the lake?


5 posted on 06/17/2004 3:46:04 PM PDT by ValerieUSA
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To: glock rocks

Kind of reminds me of a road in the Bronx.


6 posted on 06/17/2004 3:54:29 PM PDT by CdMGuy
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To: blam

Pisa to Trieste maybe. The place must have already been jumping, tradewise, when Rome was founded.


7 posted on 06/17/2004 3:55:56 PM PDT by RightWhale (Destroy the dark; restore the light)
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To: blam

Behold, two hitchhikers.


8 posted on 06/17/2004 4:00:29 PM PDT by Fester Chugabrew
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To: blam

I'm thinking that perhaps traveling by chariot, while better than walking, wasn't a particularly pleasant way to travel long distances.


9 posted on 06/17/2004 4:10:46 PM PDT by Clara Lou
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To: Clara Lou

I htink of armies in chariots, not regular commercial traffic. Riding horseback would be preferable, IMO.
Now I need to look up chariot pictures....


10 posted on 06/17/2004 4:18:54 PM PDT by ValerieUSA
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To: Clara Lou

As an elderly skateboarder [17] shot by me last night on campus and his board went the other way, I reflected on chariot riding. I would bet that a charioteer over 21 was a rarity. Most were probably 13-16 and immune to joint ailments.


11 posted on 06/17/2004 4:19:50 PM PDT by RightWhale (Destroy the dark; restore the light)
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To: ValerieUSA

http://new.tigtail.org/TIG/TVM/E/Ancient/Greek/Greek-art/0_precursers/frescos/M/mycenae_women_chariot_with_ladies-tiryns.c12cbc.jpg

http://www.dnmartgroup.com/images/Artwork/Roman%20Chariot.jpg

http://www.eleganza.com/detailed/pix/chariot.jpg


12 posted on 06/17/2004 4:25:53 PM PDT by ValerieUSA
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To: RightWhale

13 posted on 06/17/2004 4:28:48 PM PDT by ValerieUSA
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To: ValerieUSA

I don't see any shocks on this thing.

14 posted on 06/17/2004 4:30:24 PM PDT by blam
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To: ValerieUSA

I believe I'd prefer a chaise with netting and pillows conveyed by some lackeys with a very smooth gait.


15 posted on 06/17/2004 4:32:14 PM PDT by Clara Lou
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To: blam

Women drivers... bouncing up, it seems. The horses' back legs look so close to the wheels.


16 posted on 06/17/2004 4:33:03 PM PDT by ValerieUSA
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To: blam

Goodness! Lots of fascinating archeological news tonite!


17 posted on 06/17/2004 4:34:40 PM PDT by Molly Pitcher
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To: ValerieUSA
"The horses' back legs look so close to the wheels."

Yup. Messy party dresses, lol.

18 posted on 06/17/2004 4:34:57 PM PDT by blam
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To: Molly Pitcher
"Goodness! Lots of fascinating archeological news tonite!"

Yes, Mary Ludwig, it is a good day for archaeological news...two days worth actually.

19 posted on 06/17/2004 4:38:33 PM PDT by blam
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To: Clara Lou



My Favorite:

20 posted on 06/17/2004 4:39:23 PM PDT by ValerieUSA
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To: RightWhale

I'll bet you're right. There must've been considerable noise, too.


21 posted on 06/17/2004 4:45:28 PM PDT by Clara Lou
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To: RightWhale

The inscription says, "Do you want fries with that?...Drive ahead, please."


22 posted on 06/17/2004 4:54:14 PM PDT by paulat
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To: paulat

...also reminds me of the toll booth in "Blazing Saddles"....


23 posted on 06/17/2004 4:55:04 PM PDT by paulat
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To: Clara Lou

Cobblestone roads, iron horseshoes, and iron rims on the chariot wheels = considerable noise and flying debris. They wouldn't be going much faster than a trot on long trips, that wouldn't be so bad, but around town chariots were a terror. The stories from Pompeii tell of pedestrians leaping for their lives to get out of the way of the young men in their galloping chariots.


24 posted on 06/17/2004 5:02:07 PM PDT by RightWhale (Destroy the dark; restore the light)
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To: blam

:-) Mary Ludwig finds it all fascinating, too!


25 posted on 06/17/2004 5:10:12 PM PDT by Molly Pitcher
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To: blam

More!
Thank you, blam...


26 posted on 06/17/2004 6:05:55 PM PDT by Spirited
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To: ValerieUSA

I'm with you, Val... Where did the lake go?

I've tried Googling "6th"+"1850"+" lake"+"Italy" and got nothing to help.


27 posted on 06/17/2004 6:15:32 PM PDT by sonofatpatcher2 (Love & a .45-- What more could you want, campers? };^)
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To: RightWhale
The stories from Pompeii tell of pedestrians leaping for their lives to get out of the
way of the young men in their galloping chariots.


Historians aren't too far off the mark when they call us "Modern Romans"!
28 posted on 06/17/2004 6:22:16 PM PDT by VOA
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To: blam

Many private chariots had a rudamentary suspension that isolated the passenger area from the suspension via leather straps. Others used leather mesh in place of a hard floor to cushion a standing rider. Some combined both.

IIRC, fixed suspension chariots were pretty much only used in warfare or racing (where unpredictable bouncing could be dangerous). The ride in a leather-shocked chariot wouldn't have been perfectly smooth, but it wouldn't have jarred any teeth loose either.


29 posted on 06/17/2004 6:26:17 PM PDT by Arthalion
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To: ValerieUSA; sonofatpatcher2; blam
The lake was drained in 1850, part of a major campaign to rid Tuscany of malaria. The Arno river has flooded a number of times, sometimes dangerously, most recently in, hmm, late 1940s or early 1950s. 500 years ago, Leonardo da Vinci came up with a canal idea which would have controlled Arno flooding, provided agricultural irrigation (and an income source from same), permitted Florence to become a sea power, and cut off Pisa's water supply during one of the intermittent wars between those two cities. An idiot relative of some politician was chosen as contractor, and he screwed it up so bad that the project was ruined.

Thanks Val for pingin' me here.
Fortune Is a River: Leonardo Da Vinci and Niccolo Machiavellis Magnificent Dream to Change the Course of Florentine History Fortune Is a River:
Leonardo Da Vinci and
Niccolo Machiavelli's Magnificent Dream
to Change the Course of Florentine History

by Roger D. Masters


George W. Bush will be reelected by a margin of at least ten per cent

30 posted on 06/18/2004 8:48:47 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Unlike some people, I have a profile. Okay, maybe it's a little large...)
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To: blam; FairOpinion; Ernest_at_the_Beach; StayAt HomeMother; 24Karet; 3AngelaD; ...
Never got pinged?
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on, off, or alter the "Gods, Graves, Glyphs" PING list --
Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.
The GGG Digest
-- Gods, Graves, Glyphs (alpha order)

31 posted on 05/18/2005 5:05:40 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (FR profiled updated Tuesday, May 10, 2005. Fewer graphics, faster loading.)
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To: paulat
...also reminds me of the toll booth in "Blazing Saddles"....

"Somebody's got to go back and get a shitload of dimes!"

32 posted on 05/18/2005 11:40:21 PM PDT by dread78645 (Sorry Mr. Franklin, We couldn't keep it.)
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To: blam

· join list or digest · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post a topic · subscribe ·

 
Gods
Graves
Glyphs
Just updating the GGG info, not sending a general distribution.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother, and Ernest_at_the_Beach
 

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33 posted on 11/27/2009 7:40:45 PM PST by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/__Since Jan 3, 2004__Profile updated Monday, January 12, 2009)
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To: ValerieUSA
I htink of armies in chariots, not regular commercial traffic. Riding horseback would be preferable,

Stirrups did not appear until after the fall of the western empire. Riding without them is doable, but getting on the beast is tougher, as is staying there. Chariots are faster than a ridden horse, and you do have something to hang onto.
34 posted on 09/28/2013 8:27:43 PM PDT by Nepeta
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To: Nepeta

I bet there was plenty of commercial traffic unless the armies needed to march


35 posted on 09/28/2013 8:29:59 PM PDT by GeronL
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