Funerary Architecture at Archaic Gabii: A Morrisean Study
For centuries, inhabitants of central Italy practiced the deposition of grave goods in the tombs of their wealthy deceased. However, in the early sixth century BCE, this tradition vanishes in Latium, while persisting in nearby regions such as Etruria and Southern Italy. The archaic Italian population continues to express their opulence, albeit by other means; namely by choosing to shift the focal point to the graves themselves. This sparks a tradition of the construction of expensive and complex tombs throughout the region, two of which were uncovered during my season on the Gabii Project. This sudden shift in a seemingly deeply imbedded cultural and regional practice intrigued me, and I suddenly found myself yearning to understand its meaning. Therefore, in order to properly determine the significance of this phenomenon, I will be comparing tombs and funerary practices from contemporaneous Latin towns; namely the growing power which was Rome. In addition, the traditions practiced by these cultures during the transition from Bronze Age societies to the Archaic Age will be compared to those from neighboring regions, namely Etruria and Magna Graecia, in order to determine their connections and dissimilarities. Through this, I hope to be able to determine a possible cause to the end of the deposition of grave goods in Archaic Latium, and a shift of focus from the memorial dedication of material items to the construction of exuberant funerary structures.