Advertisement

Massive 2,300-year-old stone tomb at park in Italy went overlooked — until now. See it

The rock necropolis of San Giuliano promises a unique glimpse into the ancient culture that dominated Italy before the Romans. But only if visitors are able to trek down the ravines, correctly navigate the overgrown forest and locate the ruins.

Amidst the foliage, a massive 2,300-year-old tomb went unnoticed. It was hidden in plain sight — but not for much longer.

Officials launched a yearslong project to clean up the archaeological park in Barbarano Romano and restore some of its more than 500 tombs, the Superintendency of Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape in Southern Etruria said in a Feb. 23 Facebook post.

Archaeologists started the cleaning project with one of the park’s most monumental ancient tombs: the Queen’s Tomb. A photo shows this large, 2,400-year-old stone structure.

The Queen’s Tomb with scaffolding in front before excavations cleaned the surrounding area. Photo from the Superintendency of Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape in Southern Etruria
The Queen’s Tomb with scaffolding in front before excavations cleaned the surrounding area. Photo from the Superintendency of Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape in Southern Etruria

Uncover more archaeological finds

What are we learning about the past? Here are three of our most eye-catching archaeology stories from the past week.

2,400-year-old underground discovery stumped experts for decades — until now

800-year-old toy unearthed after firehouse demolition. See it

Metal detectorist unearths 'one-of-a-kind' gold treasure from 1,400 years ago. See it


As archaeologists were clearing the area next to the Queen’s Tomb, they uncovered another stone structure, officials said.

Archaeologists identified the massive structure as a 2,300-year-old tomb. Outside, the rock-hewn tomb was shaped like a cube and had several fake doors. Inside, it had three burial chambers.

The 2,300-year-old tomb at the rock necropolis of San Giuliano after excavations. Photo from the Superintendency of Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape in Southern Etruria
The 2,300-year-old tomb at the rock necropolis of San Giuliano after excavations. Photo from the Superintendency of Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape in Southern Etruria

A photo shows the ancient tomb after excavations. Archaeologists did not specify how tall the newfound tomb is but the roughly 30-foot-tall Queen’s Tomb next to it serves as a reference point.

Like the other tombs at the rock necropolis of San Giuliano, the 2,300-year-old structure was built by the Etruscans.

The 2,300-year-old tomb (left) and the Queen’s Tomb (right) during excavations at the rock necropolis of San Giuliano. Photo from the Superintendency of Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape in Southern Etruria
The 2,300-year-old tomb (left) and the Queen’s Tomb (right) during excavations at the rock necropolis of San Giuliano. Photo from the Superintendency of Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape in Southern Etruria

The Etruscans were an ancient civilization located in modern-day Italy that reached its peak in the sixth century B.C. “Many features of Etruscan culture were adopted by the Romans, their successors to power in the peninsula,” according to Britannica

Cleaning and restoration work is ongoing at the rock necropolis of San Giuliano. The site is in Barbarano Romano and about 30 miles northwest of Rome.

Google Translate was used to translate the Facebook post from the Superintendency of Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape in Southern Etruria.

‘Extremely rare’ treasure found at forgotten ancient Roman settlement in UK. See it

Hunt for ancient Roman pottery workshop leads to much older ‘exciting’ find

Man stumbles on ancient Roman artifact — weighing 13,000 pounds — in riverbed. See it