An update from Dr. Greg Warden:
The Etruscan remains on Poggio Colla were first noted in the 19th century, and an Italian team first excavated the site from 1968 to 1972. The present excavations began in 1995.
Poggio Colla is located on an impressive plateau that dominates the Mugello basin, an area that promises to provide important information regarding Etruscan interaction and trade with neighbors to the north and east. An archaeologically accessible settlement of this type is a rarity for Etruscan studies where most of our knowledge results from funerary remains. Also unusual is the site’s long chronological range, from the 7th to 2nd centuries BCE, thus covering most of Etruscan history.
A Look Into Etruscan History
The research design combines traditional archaeology with broader survey of the region and the interdisciplinary study of the region’s material culture. The sanctuary of Poggio Colla has already provided important information on Etruscan ritual, and its significant architectural remains (sanctuary, temple, and houses) have produced a vast amount of Etruscan material culture that is being studied by staff and students. Some of this material was exhibited this spring at the Meadows Museum in an exhibit entitled “New Light on the Etruscans: Fifteen Years of Excavation at Poggio Colla.”
The Digging Begins
This summer excavation will continue on the acropolis, at the western end of the sanctuary, an area that has produced remarkable deposits of bronzes, gold jewelry, coins, and other votive material. Students and staff will work in both field and laboratory and will be joined by a British team led by Prof. Phil Perkins (Open University, United Kingdom) that will continue exploration of the Northwest slope, an area that promises to provide evidence for early settlement.
The Mugello Valley Archaeological Project is headquartered in the scenic medieval town of Vicchio, about 22 miles north of Florence. The Mugello, a vast basin ringed by tall mountains, has a rich history. The Renaissance artists Giotto and Fra Angelico were born in Vicchio. Benvenuto Cellini, the 16th-century sculptor and writer, spent part of his life in Vicchio. The mild climate, the beautiful hills, the abundance of game, and the ample supply of water made the Mugello popular with the Florentine aristocracy from the Renaissance to the present day. Unlike so many parts of modern Italy, the Mugello retains a rustic, agrarian look.