Bronze statues unearthed in Italy could 'rewrite history'

Italian Ministry of Culture/Cover Images

A remarkable discovery of bronze statues may transform knowledge of the early years of Ancient Rome.

Excavations at the Sanctuary Ritrovato del Bagno Grande in San Casciano dei Bagni, Italy have led to the discovery of the largest deposit of bronze statues from the Etruscan and Roman periods of Ancient Italy ever found - one of the most significant finds of its type in the whole Mediterranean.

The finds include more than 20 statues around one metre high, depicting deities venerated in the sacred place together with the ancient dedicators.

The exceptional state of conservation within the hot water of the spring has also made it possible to preserve wonderful inscriptions. Most of these masterpieces of antiquity date back to between the second and first centuries BC.

In this era of great conflicts between Rome and the Etruscan cities, as well as changes within the social fabric of Rome, noble Etruscan and Roman families together dedicated the statues to sacred water in the sanctuary of the Bagno Grande.

From the inscriptions on the statues, it appears dedicators came from all over the territory of Chiusi and Perugia.

Excavation co-ordinator Professor Jacopo Tabolli said, "What emerged from the mud in San Casciano dei Bagni is a unique opportunity to rewrite the history of ancient art and with it the history of the passage between Etruscans and Romans in Tuscany."

Local officials now plan to build a museum that will house the finds.