Text #8904"Villanovan Culture", in .
The Villanovan culture was the earliest Iron Age culture of central and northern Italy, abruptly following the Bronze Age Terramare culture and giving way in the 7th century BC to an increasingly orientalizing culture influenced by Greek traders, which was followed without a severe break by the Etruscan civilization. The Villanovan culture and people branched from the Urnfield culture of Central Europe. The Villanovans introduced iron-working to the Italian peninsula; they practiced cremation and buried the ashes of their dead in pottery urns of distinctive double-cone shape.1
The Etruscans were distinguished by their unique language, and is known from its earliest inscriptions dated to c. 700 BC.2 It was assimilated into the Roman Republic in the late 4th century BC. At its maximum extent, during the foundational period of Rome and the Roman kingdom, it flourished in three confederacies of cities: of Etruria, of the Po valley with the eastern Alps, and of Latium and Campania.
The latest mitochondrial DNA study (2013) shows that Etruscans appear to fall very close to a Neolithic population from Central Europe and to other Tuscan populations.3
“Villanovan culture”. Encyclopedia Britannica. ↩
Helmut Rix, “Etruscan,” in The Ancient Languages of Europe, ed. Roger D. Woodard (Cambridge University Press, 2008), pp. 141-164. ↩
Silvia Ghirotto, Francesca Tassi, Erica Fumagalli, Vincenza Colonna, Anna Sandionigi, Martina Lari, Stefania Vai, Emmanuele Petiti, Giorgio Corti, Ermanno Rizzi, Gianluca De Bellis, David Caramelli, Guido Barbujani (6 February 2013). “Origins and Evolution of the Etruscans’ mtDNA”. PLOS One. :”we show that the Etruscans can be considered ancestral, with a high degree of confidence, to the current inhabitants of Casentino and Volterra, but not to the general contemporary population of the former Etruscan homeland. By further considering two Anatolian samples (35 and 123 individuals) we could estimate that the genetic links between Tuscany and Anatolia date back to at least 5,000 years ago, strongly suggesting that the Etruscan culture developed locally, and not as an immediate consequence of immigration from the Eastern Mediterranean shores.” ↩