Professor Alexis Castor’s study of a collection of Etruscan jewelry found on the acropolis at Poggio Colla, Italy, is discussed in the latest (November/December) issue of Archaeology. The deposit of eighteen items, half of them gold, includes a pair of third-century B.C. gold earrings, pendants, and other goods and was discovered in the summer of 2003 by Kacie Coughlin ’05, a student at the Archaeological Field School at Poggio Colla. Professor Castor, who has done extensive research on ancient jewelry, says that the discovery of a cache of jewelry in a location that was not a tomb is quite unusual; indeed, she knows of no other collections of jewelry found in a non-funerary context. According to Professor Castor, it is “easy to imagine one or more women pulling these pieces out of their jewelry boxes and taking them to the sanctuary to be offered up.” The offering might have been a response to a crisis in the city, or it could have been made as a petition for the healing of a sick child or in gratitude for a family success. Or there might have been some other personal reason for the gift of these treasures. “The fact that a woman donated her own pieces to the deity speaks to me of her intimate and personal religious act in a way that other mass-produced votive offerings such as terracotta or bronze figurines don’t,” Professor Castor says.
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