Artifacts from the Etruscan Isis Tomb, Polledrara Cemetery, Vulci, Italy.

Lucien Bonaparte (Prince of Canino and the brother of Napoleon), opened many of the Etruscan tombs on his estate near Vulci, which was given to him by the pope. Unfortunately only those artifacts which were considered to be of monetary value were kept, and much of the pottery found was destroyed. 

In 1839, one particularly rich tomb was found, which dated to the 6th century BCE, and is known as the Isis Tomb. Not only was no plan or inventory of its contents made, but after the removal of the “notable” artifacts from the “excavations”, the tomb was filled in and the site is now completely lost. It is also thought that at least one man and women were buried in the tomb.

A bronze statue thought to represent Isis (photo 1), as well as other artifacts of Egyptian character give the tomb its name. This statue is however more likely to represent a priestess or native fertility goddess. Jouberthou, the widow of Lucien Bonaparte, sold about 60 objects which were said to be from the tomb in 1844. These artifacts were initially sold to Dr Emil Braun of the Archaeological Institute at Rome, who later sold them to The British Museum.

The shown items are part of the brought collection, and are thought to date to about 625-550 BCE. All artifacts in the collection are thought to come from Vulci, some undoubtedly from the Isis Tomb, however the provenance of others is not certain. 

If you’re interested in reading more about the specific artifacts shown, i’d encourage you to read the descriptions The British Museum provides:

Courtesy & currently located at The British Museum, London. The information The British Museum provides about the tomb was of great use when writing up this post.

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