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Interior of the Tomb of the Reliefs at Cerveteri (ancient Caere), 3rd century BCE. Image ©Roby Ferrari
For a long time little was known about the mysterious Etruscan civilization that inhabited ancient Italy, as their civilization was somewhat overshadowed in history by the achievements of the Greeks and the triumphs of the Romans. The remarkable tombs and necropolises they left behind became the major source of information about a people all but lost to history.
Historians have learned much of their information about the Etruscans from inscriptions on monuments, especially tombs. Like the Romans, the Etruscans did not bury their dead inside city limits, but still sought to provide peace and comfort for their deceased relatives. Elaborate tombs were carved out of stone or volcanic rock to model Etruscan houses and architecture, essentially creating cities or towns for the dead.