Nearly 2,600 years ago, a wealthy, high-class family was buried alongside their most expensive riches in Italy.
Their huge tomb remained sealed — until now.
Officials accompanied archaeologists for the tomb’s opening at the Osteria Necropolis in the Archaeological Park of Vulci, according to an Oct. 27 Facebook post from the Municipality of Montalto di Castro.
Archaeologists initially discovered the ancient tomb in April 2023 while exploring the necropolis, Finestre sull’Arte reported. It had been closed and untouched for about 2,600 years.
Inside the tomb, experts found a sprawling collection of pottery and wine jugs, including imports from the Greek island Chios, the outlet reported. Other artifacts included utensils, cups, bronze and iron objects, ceramics, a tablecloth for a ritual meal and a bronze cauldron. Everything was in near-perfect condition.
The discovery of wine jugs from Greece indicates the importance of wine trade during ancient times, Carlo Casi, director of the Vulci Foundation and leader of the excavations, told Il Messaggero. He said the tomb and its contents likely belonged to an aristocratic family linked to the wine trade.
Experts also noted the tomb’s unique construction, Il Messaggero reported. The two-chamber tomb was carved from rock and its entry was blocked by massive rocks.
The tomb belonged to the Etruscans, officials with the municipality said on Facebook.
The Etruscans were an ancient people responsible for establishing the most powerful and advanced civilization in Italy before the Roman empire, according to Britannica. They are credited with inventing togas and influencing Roman architecture, and there is evidence that they taught the Romans the alphabet and numbers.
Ertruria reached its height around the sixth century B.C., before it was absorbed by Rome during the third century B.C., according to Britannica.
The Archaeological Park of Vulci is in central Italy about 75 miles northwest of Rome.
Facebook was used to translate a post from the Municipality of Montalto di Castro. Google Translate was used to translate stories from Finestre sull’Arte and Il Messaggero.