Etruscans on display in Dallas

The Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University in Dallas is hosting two Etruscan exhibitions from now until May.

This is the largest gathering of Etruscan art ever presented in the United States, and most of the objects, on loan from the National Museum of Archaeology in Florence, have never been seen in this country. The exhibition and the scholarly catalog that accompanies it came together in little more than a year, and Dallas will be its only venue.

The first is From the Temple and the Tomb, a collection of 300 funerary and devotional pieces from the Florence Archaeological Museum. These items they are the cream of the Etruscan crop and they do not travel very often.

The second is New Light on the Etruscans: Fifteen Years of Excavation at Poggio Colla, featuring antiquities from an SMU-led excavation in Tuscany.

The latter is notable because most of what we know about the Etruscans comes from their necropolises. The Poggio Colla site is an Etruscan settlement, so you see how they lived, not just how their lives were presented in a funerary context.

Archaeological evidence suggests that Poggio Colla was occupied from as early as 650 B.C.E. until at least 187 B.C.E. The site centers on the acropolis, a roughly rectangular plateau of one and a half acres at the summit of Poggio Colla. Excavations have found strong evidence that the acropolis was a sanctuary and have identified a building and an altar associated with the structure. The building’s form evolved from a modest hut-like structure in the seventh century B.C.E. to a monumental complex with stone foundations and tile roofs by the time of its destruction in the second century B.C.E. […]

A highlight of the exhibition is the stunning deposit of gold jewelry, one of the few examples of Etruscan gold found outside of a tomb. Beyond the rarity and pristine condition of these pieces lies the fact that this jewelry was most likely a votive gift from a woman who visited the sanctuary.

If you’re anywhere in the Dallas area within the next 4 months, make a point of seeking out the Meadows Museum to see things that you’ll probably never have the opportunity to see outside of Italy.