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Rome Reports

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Vatican Museums restore 2600-year-old Etruscan carriages

MAURIZIO SANNIBALEEtruscan Museum, Vatican Museums“We’ve been able to rebuild a funerary chariot and another we call a ?calesse,? which ; was used to carry people. It was used for everyday life, but also for certain ceremonies. For example, it would also be used to carry the bride to the ceremony on her wedding day.”They are described as one of a kind artifacts, embellished with decorative metals and engraved with designs and figures. Vatican experts say back then, chariots weren?t just about transportation. They symbolized divinity. MAURIZIO SANNIBALEEtruscan Museum, Vatican Museums“The Etruscans were different from other Mediterranean civilizations, which used their chariots as a tool on the battlefield. The Etruscans on the other hand, as well as the Greeks, saw it as a vehicle of heroism in the battlefield. In its iconography, it was also a symbol of divinity. So it became a way to depict someone as a hero.”The restoration efforts were complex. Especially because the chariots were originally made from different types of materials. In many cases, it was not easy to find a perfect match. MAURIZIO SANNIBALEEtruscan Museum, Vatican Museums“The restoration efforts were complicated because these old chariots don?t leave a clear archeological footprint. The structures were made of degradable materials, mostly wood and leather. Metal was used for decorations, or for mechanical purposes, and was done in either bronze or iron.”If coming all the way to Rome to visit the Vatican Museums isn?t an option, one can also see a virtual reconstruction of the Etruscan tomb, where the chariot remains were found. VIC/RCarr/KLH -JM-BNUp:SCar