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The Wells of Cetamura

Early on in the history of exploration at Cetamura, Alvaro Tracchi and his colleagues had noted a deep cavity  in the ground in the middle of Zone I. It would take 12 campaigns by Florida State University to get to the bottom of the depression, in reality a rock-cut well/cistern dug by Etruscans to 32.42 meters below ground level, exactly 100 Etruscan feet.   

In the final, most difficult, years (beginning in 2011), the work was carried out by Ichnos: Archeologia, Ambiente e Sperimentazione of Montelupo Fiorentino, directed by Francesco Cini [a.]. The excavation was finally completed in 2014. At the same time a new well had been discovered on Zone II next to the sanctuary.  Ichnos moved their operations from Zone I and excavated Well no. 2 to completion in  2016, at a depth of more than 8 meters.  The following year the cornucopia of evidence from the two wells was drawn upon for the ambitious exhibition in Florence called “Wells of Wonders.”

The two wells together cover a time span from the late 4th century BCE to the 4th century CE, and provide a staggering amount of information about Etruscan and Roman Cetamura.  Thousands of artifacts were discovered—bronze vessels [b.], pottery [c.], coins, glass, rings and ringstones, figurines, polished stone loom weights [d.], tokens, and numerous artifacts made of silver [e.], iron, lead, bone and stone. Huge quantities of brick and tile were extracted from Well # 1 [f.]. Equally abundant and significant were the organic remains carefully extracted—pollen from every level, wood (including artifacts cut from wood), nuts, seeds, and animal bones [g.] (pig, cow, sheep/goat, hare, cat and a multitude of birds of different kinds).  Much has been published and much is still under study. Conservation and restoration were urgently important [h.].

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50th Anniversary Celebration – June 2023

FSU’s archeological excavation at Cetamura in Italy turns 50 this year and we will be celebrating on the site and in our lab with new drone mapping technology and new students. It all culminates with the inauguration of the Museum at the Origins of Chianti in Gaiole in Chianti which will permanently display some of our most important artifacts.

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