Known for their art, agriculture, fine metalworking and commerce, the Etruscans begun to decline during the fifth century B.C., as the Romans grew in power. By 300-100 B.C., they eventually became absorbed into the Roman empire.
Since their puzzling, non-Indo-European language was virtually extinguished (they left no literature to document their society), the Etruscans have long been considered one of antiquity's great enigmas.
Indeed, much of what we know about them comes from their cemeteries. Only the richly decorated tombs they left behind have provided clues to fully reconstruct their history.
Blocked by a perfectly sealed stone slab, the rock-cut tomb in Tarquinia appeared promising even before opening it.
Indeed, several objects, including jars, vases and even a grater, were found in the soil in front of the stone door, indicating that a funeral rite of an important person took place there.
As the heavy stone slab was removed, Mandolesi and his team were left breathless. In the small vaulted chamber, the complete skeleton of an individual was resting on a stone bed on the left. A spear lay along the body, while fibulae, or brooches, on the chest indicated that the individual, a man, was probably once dressed with a mantle.