Classic Court

Furnishing the Tomb

Bed niches cut into the walls of the Tomb of the Reliefs at Ceverteri (ancient Caere), 3rd century BCE.

In addition to ornate sarcophagi (coffins) for the family members interred there, the interior of Etruscan tombs could be painted with elaborate scenes and filled with luxury items, so that the tombs essentially became expensive works of art in their own right. To allow the dead to feel at home, the Etruscans often carved decorative columns, stairs, beds (complete with terracotta pillows!), rooms, and utensils out of the rock in the tombs, sometimes even adding a porch to the outside. By providing their dead with lasting stone versions of earthly comforts, the Etruscans have granted scholars today a glimpse of their daily life and domestic architecture.