Antiquarium di Poggio Civitate
"Antiquarium of Poggio Civitate" is the name of the Archeological Etruscan Museum of Murlo, because it displays material found in the very important Etruscan site "Poggio Civitate".
The decision to exibit all the material found in a place near the Etruscan site, was taken in the Seventies and brought about the inauguration of the Museum in 1988 in the "Palazzone"; recently, in 2002, the Museum was renovated and widened with the acquisition of an adjacent building, the "Palazzina", adding new finds. It is in the important chain of Musei Senesi.
The peculiarity of the Antiquarium of Poggio Civitate stems from the almost esclusive display of material and finds coming from a princely Etruscan residence of a period between the VII° and the V° century B.C.; differentely from of other Etruscan museums, where there are only finds coming from tombs.
The reconstractions,that it was possible to carry out with the excavated materials, the sculptures and the acroteria, the "sime" (terracotta reliefs), the daily tools and domestic objects in ceramic, in terracotta and bucchero, in bone and ivory, bring us precious information about the uses and habits, about the contacts and the trade of the refined Etruscan civilisation of that period.
Many finds of the Museum of Murlo are "unique": universally wellknown the roof of the princely residence (recently added the roof of the workshop), the terracotta reliefs (sime) of the horse race and that one of the Banquet, the acrotery called "the Cappellone (big hat)" for the peculiar shape of the hat, that became the symbol and the trademark of Murlo.
Poggio Civitate is situated south-east of Murlo and it is situated of the hills that separate the more recent alluvial areas from the oolder one of the Metallifere Hills that extend to the sea. The site is wooded and a large plane of 700 x 400 m at the top, at the high of 365 m, favoured the location.
That's why the Etruscans settled in Poggio Civitate.
The discovery of the site is due to the intuition and the curiosity of Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli who, spured by the finding of sporadic traces, suspected the possibility of an important settlement in the area.
In 1966 professor K.M.Phillis, obtained the license and started escavating with immediate interesting results.
The most ancient phase, called orientalizing, is charachterized by the building of Poggio Civitate, rich in acroterial decoration.
This buiding, destroyed by fire before 600 B.C., was reconstructed one year later.
In 525 B.C. the inhabitants decided to abandon it after voluntary demolition; around the area an embankment of stone and soil was built up to prevent the acces to the site.
The orientalizing palace was over 35 m long and 8 m wide, without any internal division, but probably with two floors, with the lower level used as a warehouse, as demonstrated by the remaining "pithoi" buried in the flor.
Majority of the most interesting finds has been discovered under the stratum of the ruins due to the fire and show us that the inhabitants were in a hurry to run away whithout time to take care of what they were leaving behind.
About 580 B.C. the residence was rebuilt on the ruins of the previous one in a greater dimension.
It was a four-sided building of 60 m, facing south-east, with corners where there were rooms giving the theory that they could be towers or they could give stability to the construction.
The 18 rooms were opened towards the internal courtyard with a three side arcades; on the fourth side there was a "templum" with the images of the guardian deities.
Outside the building, in an area at south-west, there was a workshop, where several craftmen worked ceramics,gold, ivory and bronze. Furnaces for the reduction have been found nearby.
The akroterium of the palace was characteristic of tondo fictile figures representing seated characters with wide-brimmed hat and imaginery mythological figures.
The internal courtyard was, on the contrary, decorated with terracotta slabs representing convivial scenes, horse races and hunting scenes.
The findings of Poggio Civitate are kept in the <"Antiquarium of Poggio Civitate"> in the Palazzone of Murlo; they give a complete vision of the Etruscan daily life instead of what we are accustomed to see in other museums with finds from tombs and representing the cult of the dead persons.
The site, since it was discovered,is a yearly purpose of the escavations campaign from American Universities; in the recent years from the University Of Massachusetts Amherst.