Archaeology Odyssey 1:3, Summer 1998

The Etruscans

Mastering the delicate art of living

By Ingrid D. Rowland

Do you wonder what happened to the ancient Etruscans, those civilized, seemingly mysterious people who revealed so many secrets of life and death to the Romans? Simply journey to the heart of Tuscany, to the bustling train station at Florence. Wait for one of the local trains from Chiusi, a town 90 miles south of Florence, and carefully watch the disembarking passengers. Many of the faces you see might uncannily remind you of those relaxed, confident faces that peer out from Etruscan portrait sculptures more than 2,000 years old. Indeed, recent DNA tests have shown that many modern-day Tuscans possess the same genetic makeup as skeletons unearthed from Etruscan tombs in the countryside surrounding Florence. Clearly, the Etruscans never went away.

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