From the Depths of Italy: Ancient Mysteries Unearthed in an Etruscan Bronze Lamp

The Cortona lamp is a heavy bronze-hanging oil lamp that is shaped like a chandelier. It measures around 60cm across and weighs almost 60 kg. This lamp is believed to have originated from the Etruscan civilization of Archaic Etruria, which was a region of central Italy corresponding to present-day Tuscany and part of Umbria. The Etruscan civilization was prosperous from about 900 BCE, but it gradually merged into the Roman Republic after about 400 BCE.



New research has found that the Cortona lamp, a bronze artifact from central Italy, is much older than previously believed. It dates back to 480 BCE and features an ornate design depicting Dionysus and his revelers. This makes it significant to the Dionysian cult. The lamp was discovered in a ditch near Cortona. A recent study published in Etruscan and Italic Studies by Alburz and Tol suggests that the lamp originated much earlier than previous estimates indicated. They identified new comparanda that helped them establish its origin to be around 480 BCE.


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