- Museum number
Pottery cinerary urn with single handle, black body, bulbous form with wavy outline and incised decoration comprising a band of geometric parallel lines round the neck and a series of swastika-like motifs within a double square of parallel lines. Part of rim missing.
Height: 36.80 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- This is a Villanovan cinerary urn, showing the typical biconical form with a single handle. These handmade urns were produced and deposited in northern Italy in the ninth and eighth centuries BC as part of local burial practices. Cremated human remains were placed into the urn, sometimes along with items of adornment such as brooches, pins, beads and bracelets. The urn was covered with a bronze or ceramic bowl or helmet and deposited in a cylindrical shaft tomb or stone-lined rectangular cist. The base of the burial chamber was lined with sweepings from the funeral pyre, and around the urn were generally placed two or three small cups or bowls. The tomb was covered with a small pile of stones. Villanovan cemeteries contained large numbers of densely packed graves, often around a metre apart.
The provenance of this urn is unknown, but it in similar in form and decoration to examples known from cemeteries at Bologna, Sopra-Selciatello and Poggio dell’ Impiccato. For more details on these sites see Ridgway (1994) and Randall-MacIver (1924, similar examples are shown on plate 3, 11 and 12).
Randall-MacIver, D. 1924. Villanovans and Early Etruscans. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Ridgway, D. 1994. "The Villanovan Cemeteries of Bologna and Pontecagnano" in Journal of Roman Archaeology 7: 303–16
- Not on display
- Acquisition notes
- Wellcome Collection, date of transfer to BM unknown..Original small brown card label printed in red with 'ST 24 & 25 FEB 20 LOT' 167 (20 and 167 added in blue crayon). This is a Wellcome collection label and refers to a sale at Stevens auction house in London where Wellcome obtained many items in his collection. See also Eu1997,Q.8 and Eu1987,Q. 11 purchased at the same sale. (J. Rudoe 18 Feb 2012)
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: As1997,Q.239 (initially numbered as, in error)