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28 July 2011
Bronze Age 'holy site' found in Central Italy

Italian archaeologists have discovered a sacred mountain where ancient Etruscans worshipped gods and burned sacred objects in their honour during the Bronze Age 3000 years ago. Experts from the Archeological Superintendency for southern Etruria and La Sapienza University in Rome found the site at Mount Cimino near Viterbo, 80 km north of Rome (Italy). The discovery is considered one of the most important in the early history of the region, with archaeological remnants dating back to 1000 BC.
     Archaeologists led by Professor Andrea Cardarelli of La Sapienza University in Rome have carried out excavations on the 3,200-foot summit for the past three years. Cardarelli said they found a number of materials which were linked to cult fires and 'clear evidence of votive offerings'. "Religious activities 1000 years BC were carried out through fire," he said. "Offerings were burnt for the gods - sacred objects, food or animals". Remnants of an ancient wall encircling the mountain were also found by the archeological team.
     "These excavations have raised so many questions," said Laura D'Erme from the Archeological Superintendency. "What relations did the inhabitants of Mount Cimino have with the nearby community of Soriano? Was the mountain inhabited by the ruling class? Was this the point of religious reference for Etruria"?

Edited from ANSA, UPI (26 July 2011)

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