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The monumental architecture of Poggio Civitate remains some of the best preserved and most enigmatic of the early period of Etruscan social and political development. Two phases of architectural development are well known. The latest phase, dating to the Archaic Period (circa 600-550 BCE), consists of an opulently decorated, monumental, four winged, fortified structure. While the overall purpose of this large building remains obscure, most scholars agree it served as a residence – among other potential functions. The earlier phase of architectural development, dating to the mid 7th century BCE, consisted of a multi-functional complex surrounded by several other large buildings of different functions. Like the later structure, the buildings of this complex employed ornately decorated terracotta roofs, one of which clearly served as an elite residence.
Excavation in 2015 through 2017 revealed traces of yet another phase of monumental domestic architecture at the site. Located immediately west of the site’s Piano del Tesoro plateau, this building was considerably larger than any of the site’s non-elite domestic architecture with which it was contemporary and also appears to have employed one of the earliest known decorated, terracotta roofs in central Italy.
The comparison of forms of these three phases of elite domestic architecture suggests the site’s aristocratic population initially expressed status in terms of scale and size of their household. However, over time, the location of domestic space gradually moved further away from non-elite elements of the site’s surrounding population and visual access to members of the aristocracy grew increasingly more restricted.
Tuck, A. 2017. “The Evolution and Political Use of Elite Domestic Space at Poggio Civitate,” Journal of Roman Archaeology 30. 227-243.
Tuck, A. 2016. “The Three Phases of Elite Domestic Space at Poggio Civitate,” Dalla capanna al palazzo. Edilizia abitativa nell’Italia preromana. Atti del XXIII Convegno Internazionale di Studi sulla Storia e l’Archeologia dell’Etruria. G. Della Fina, ed. 301-317.