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Etruscan culture flourished for the span of a millennium, but by the 1st century BCE, Etruria was just another part of the Roman world. Their technology, religion, and many of their customs were incorporated into Roman traditions that still endure today.

Above: Antefix, Etruria, Later 4th century BCE. MS1801

Explore the Etruscans’ contributions to Roman (and modern) culture, such as “Roman” numerals and the “Latin” alphabet, religious rituals, concepts of city planning, and tiled roofs. See the Etruscans’ highly technical skills through the weaponry, pottery, and intricate gold jewelry they produced.

The Etruscans influenced the central part of what we know today as Italy during the late 8th through 6th centuries BCE. Their economy was based on trade with Phoenicians, Greeks, Italic tribes, and continental Europe, as shown in valuable artifacts displayed in the Gallery.

"Most of what we know about Etruscan life comes from images and personal belongings found in Etruscan tombs. These tombs show us what men and women wore and valued in life."

What's On View
Cinerary chest with fan reclining on the lid. Baule type gold earring with filigree work. Hut urn.

Cinerary Chest. Rare Etruscan writing can be seen in the inscription of this alabaster urn of the 3rd century BCE, from the region of Chiusi, where the Etruscans cremated their dead and deposited the ashes in urns like this one. “Arnth Remzna son of Arnth” is shown wearing the spiked hat of a haruspex, a priest skilled in interpreting the livers of sacrificial animals. MS2458A, MS2458B

Earring (of "a baule" type). One of a pair. With granular and filigree work. Cylindrical, a section open. The exterior is decorated with 3 lines of small bosses with a line of beading above, below, and between. On one side of the opening a cut-out palmette extends partway across. MS3345A, MS3345B

Hut Urn with Door Cover. Brown clay. Aperture still closed by original door through which rod was run. Imitation cabin made of primitive thatch and poles. On roof projecting lines in the clay represent parts of structure of cabin, such as ridge pole and cross beams. MS1601A, MS1601B

View all objects on display in this gallery.

Close up of shield pattern from a Narce tomb.

Explore a Narce tomb

Around 700 BCE, a warrior was buried in a tomb at Narce, in central Italy, with his weapons and armor, vases, razors, and horse fittings. Get a glimpse inside this tomb and find out how archaeologists interpret funerary (the goods found inside tombs) to learn more about the Etruscans.

Take a Tour
Greek pottery.

A Global Market for Greek Pottery

In fact, the best and most intact Greek pottery in the Greece Gallery was found in Etruscan tombs. So many Greek vases have been excavated from Etruscan tombs that archaeologists once assumed they had been made in Etruria. Now that sources of pottery clays can be identified and styles are better understood, we know that Greek potters exported their wares to an avid market of collectors and social climbers in Etruria.

Expedition v. 61:1

Article by Jean Turfa, Ph.D.

A Comet Shall Shine Forth

A slim sheet-bronze belt (MS691) buried with an Etruscan noblewoman in the 7th century BCE may feature a comet or two in a very rare narrative scene depicted in repoussé, the technique of hammering a raised pattern up from the back surface of a metal sheet. This artwork tells the story of people trying to make sense of astronomical events. Far from unusual, the ancients left behind many artifacts and images that tell us they were observing the skies as much like we do today.

Dig Deeper

Home to more than one million artifacts, the Penn Museum explores human history across 10,000 years. Only a small fraction are on display in the galleries. Explore the rest of the collection online.

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