Word into Art, £16.99
Explore / Articles
The 'Isis Tomb', Polledrara Cemetery, Vulci
Lucien Bonaparte, Prince of Canino and brother of Napoleon, opened many Etruscan tombs on his estate near Vulci, which had been given to him by the Pope. Only objects considered to be of monetary value were kept, and much pottery was destroyed. In 1839, Prince Lucien found a rich tomb dating from the sixth century BC, but no plan or inventory of its contents were made. After the removal of material from the excavation, the tomb was filled in and the site is now lost.
The tomb came to be known as the 'Isis Tomb' as it included a hammered bronze statue thought to represent the goddess Isis, as well as other objects of Egyptian character. In fact the statue is more likely to represent a native fertility goddess or priestess. It appears that at least one man and one woman were buried in the tomb. In 1844, the Prince's widow Jouberthou sold some sixty objects, said to be from the tomb, to Dr Emil Braun of the Archaeological Institute at Rome. He later sold the objects to The British Museum, in 1850. All of the items from this group probably come from Vulci and mainly date to about 625-550 BC. Some are undoubtedly from the 'Isis Tomb' but the provenance of others is not certain.