Cauldron comeback

Ancient Etruscan artifact restored

Valentina Wurth
July 3, 2014

An Etruscan cauldron, found in a poorly preserved state at the Archaeology Museum of Florence, was recently restored back to its original glory. It had weathered the Florentine flood of 1966. The project was made possible thanks to Italia Nostra’s recent contribution to the museum. The artifact dates back to the mid-seventh century BC and was excavated by Isidoro Galchi at Vetulonia in 1913.


Lion and giraffe heads decorate the rim of the ornament, which was originally part of a grave circle. These types of cauldrons were used by Etruscans in everyday life for boiling meat or as containers for water. They were also part of Etruscan funerary tradition: during ceremonies, individuals were appointed to collect these objects and add them to graves.


During the 1980s, the artifact had a partial restoration which was limited to a surface cleaning and some minor integration; however, the restoration conducted recently was done with great sensitivity and skill, affecting the area along the edges. The object’s many missing pieces have also been identified and will be cleaned up and reassembled to fully reconstruct the relic.


The restoration was conducted by restorer Adria Thigh in Florence, under the scientific direction of Franco Cecchi, an official at the center of restoration of the Archaeological Superintendence of Tuscany. During the process, tiny fragments of tissue were found inside the ornament, which will now be analyzed in order to learn more about daily life in the ancient civilization.

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