The finding reveals a lesser known aspect of the Etruscan civilization, which began to flourish around 900 B.C., and dominated much of Italy for five centuries. Known for their art, agriculture, fine metalworking and commerce, the Etruscans became absorbed into the Roman empire by 300-100 B.C.
Their richly decorated tombs have painted an image of a fun-loving and eclectic people who respected women and taught the French how to make wine, the Romans how to build roads, and introduced the art of writing into Europe.
The shackled man reveals a more disturbing side of the traditional Etruscan image.
"They could be cruel as well," Baratti said.
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He described the Phersu funerary game, depicted in at least four tombs in Tarquinia, in which a masked man known as Phersu holds a dog on a leash.
As the Phersu pulled on the leash, a nail on the dog's collar dug into the animal's neck, angering the dog and causing it to attack a man. Many scholars are also now convinced that the Etruscans performed human sacrifice. Excavations carried out between 1982 and 2005 revealed gruesome remains in a monumental sacred area of Tarquinia.