An ancient bronze statue found in an Italian bath at its best

Dozens of beautifully preserved 2,000-year-old bronze statues have been found, in what Italian officials call an “exceptional” find from a sacred hot spring that “rewrites history.”

More than 60 experts from around the world examine 24 mud-protected statuettes in the sacred baths of San Casciano dei Bagni, a hilltop town in the province of Siena, about 100 miles north of Rome. the Italian Ministry of Culture announced on Tuesday.

Found in perfect preservation alongside 5,000 gold, silver and copper coins, the bronze statues contain complete figures, individual body parts and organs of the gods. The ancient Greek gods and goddesses of health, Apollo and Igea, are also depicted in some statues.

The artifacts will provide experts with a better understanding of the transition from Etruscan civilization to the expansion of the Roman Empire, a period marked by wars and conflicts in central Italy from the 2nd to 1st century BC. Excavation coordinator Jacopo Tabolli said.

The museum’s director, Massimo Osanna, called these artifacts “the most important bronzes ever discovered in the history of the ancient Mediterranean” and the most since the discovery of a bronze warrior of Riace underwater in 1972. explained that it is important.

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Despite ancient conflicts in today’s Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio regions, both Etruscan and Latin are inscribed on the statues, showing evidence that Etruscan and Roman families prayed together at the fountain. increase.

“Social and civil wars were being fought outside the sanctuary, but inside the sanctuary the great elite families of Etruria and Rome prayed together in a context of peace amid conflict,” Tabori said. . “This possibility of rewriting the relationship and dialectic between the Etruscans and Romans is a unique opportunity.”

The ministry plans to build a new museum in the area to house antiques.

Contributors: Jordan Mendoza, USA TODAY. Associated Press

Camille Fine is a trend visual producer for USA TODAY’s NOW team.

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