WELLS OF WONDERS AT CETAMURA IN CHIANTI
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The exhibit at the Archaeological Museum in Florence showcases more than 300 items pulled from two ancient rainwater wells at Cetamura, near Gaiole, in the Sienese Chianti.
Cetamura is a woody hill included in the properties of the Medieval Badia a Coltibuono, founded in the 111h century and still today well known for its excellent wine production.
Etruscans and Romans threw an incredible number of objects into the wells, which were discovered in 1964, and explored for many years by Professor Nancy de Grummond from Florida State University.
It is well known that Etruscans and Romans produced and exported wine. Now that hundreds of well-preserved grape seeds were found in the wells it will be possible to investigate the plants’ DNA.
Grape seeds, olive pits, hazelnuts were mostly found inside bronze pitchers at the bottom of the deeper well (it took many years to reach it, as it is 104 feet deep), as religious offerings.
Other evidence of a ritual use of the wells, besides the practical one, is the presence of hundreds of small votive cups and about 70 coins in bronze and silver, knucklebones and pawns.
A huge amount of wet wood objects, the use of some of which can be identified, found in the wells will also help to cast new light on everyday life in this area during Etruscan and Roman times.
More organic findings are the many animal bones found at different levels, casting an insight on people’s diet in Chianti from Etruscan to Medieval times.
Etruscan would practice fishing and hunting wild boars and deers, while Romans would rather use poultry.
The exhibit celebrates six years of difficult research carried on by the Italian SACI (Studio Arts Center International) from Florence and by the American Florida State University.
The American archaeology students used the Italian approach to cleaning, drying, reconstructing, reassembling and integrating the ancient findings.
The persistence of an agricultural community since the 2nd century B.C. and the continuity of the human presence until the Middle Ages are a proof of the strategic and fortunate location of this site.
For more info about the exhibit (until September 30th, 2017): https://saci-art.com/2017/06/01/wells-and-wonders-new-discoveries-at-cetamura-del-chianti-opens-june-9-2017-at-the-national-archaeological-museum-florence/