The mute statues speak: The archaic period acroteria from poggio civitate (Murlo)

Eoin O'Donoghue*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Poggio Civitate has made an important contribution to the understanding of domestic architecture in pre-Roman central Italy since excavations commenced in 1966 uncovering two phases of monumental architecture. Interpretations of the site have been varied, with suggestions that it was the seat of a north Etruscan league or the base of a local elite family. This study argues that it was the latter, based upon an analysis of the famous 'cowboy' statue acroteria from the Archaic period complex. It is argued that the statues, as ancestral figures of the elite inhabitants, personified their wealth and power. The complex, and acroteria more generally, had a powerful psychological effect on those living within it, but more importantly those living in the surrounding territory. In addition the building is placed within its physical and socio-political landscape of north inland Etruria.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)268-288
Number of pages21
JournalEuropean Journal of Archaeology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2013


  • Architecture
  • Etruria
  • Landscape
  • Poggio Civitate
  • Statue acroteria


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