The Etruscan Necropolis of San Potente
Tuscania’s first recorded history dates to the Villanovian Period (900 – 700 B.C.), however it remained an important site throughout the Etruscan, (700 – 300 BC) Roman (300 BC – 800 AD) and Middle Ages (800 – 1400 AD).
The Necropolis of San Potente, first discovered in the 19th century and running alongside the river Marta, is one of the largest in the region, with over 200 partially excavated tombs.
In addition to afterlives, the area was a bustling center for the commercial and cultural survival of the peoples who came after the Etruscans.
The land is intersected by the Via Clodia, one of the earliest paved roads dating from the Roman Empire (named for Emperor Claudius) as well as the still functioning water tunnel (cunicoli) that distributed water to the surrounding area and irrigated the farmlands we use today.
There is also evidence of communal stoves likely used throughout the Middle Ages, the ruins of the Church of San Potente, and until the 1950’s the area was used as a quarry to supply building materials to the surrounding area. Indeed, in World War II townspeople often used the water tunnel and its large cave as a refuge from attack.
A walk through this area is a window into 27 centuries of human development and innovation.
We work with volunteer groups to organize excavations, and our findings are archived and catalogued by the Italian government for preservation. We are constantly working on new ways to explore these ruins and make them available to visitors and colleagues alike, and one of our greatest sources of pride is the opportunity to act as caretakers for this incredible resource.
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