A Funeral Urn from Volterra

Carter, C.  1984. “A Funerary Urn from Volterra”. American Journal of Archaeology 88: 541-545.

Presenter: Ali Gonzalez

Ross Adler;
Vasiliki Barakos;
Loren Berry;
Jenna Bittenbender;
Clareese Chin

8 thoughts on “A Funeral Urn from Volterra

  1. What examples or evidence does the author use to support her argument that the New York urn was a typical product of a Volterran workshop in the late Romanization period?

  2. Carter uses a lot of evidence to support her claim during this article. She first points out that the material (tufa) used to make the funerary urn links it to a similar group of urns from Volterra in the Roman period (542). She also states that the lack of ornamentation on the female figure can be attributed to the moral ideal of the Roman age. Carter then bolsters her argument with a detailed formal analysis of the female figure, always tying the analysis back to the early Hellenizing period. During this analysis she mentions the positioning of the female figure on the cushions and the lack of identifying features, among other formal qualities, as evidence that this urn belongs to the early Roman age. Carter ends her argument by defining the urn as a funerary urn by its Vanth iconography and uses this aspect as a direct link to Volterra. Overall, I think her article was succinct and well-executed. The shortness of the article made it powerful and made for a systematic and convincing read.

    • You mention the urn was carved from tufa. Was that the only material the Volterran workshops used to produce cinerary urns?

  3. Clareese hit the nail on the head so I won’t belabor or regurgitate what she has said. I think the most powerful part of the authors argument was her iconographic analysis and the parallels to other similar urns. This strengthened the authors argument and gave her a solid base on which to construct her idea. I think the author could have gone into intense detail and added in lots of fancy latin quotes, but I’m really glad she didn’t. The length of her argument was short, to the point, and well argued. I followed this article easily and enjoyed this read. I think this author also deals with ripping down Clifford’s paper and argument in a very diplomatic fashion. She handled this sticky situation well.

    • I agree with you, Jenna. I liked that Carter provided a concise and coherent argument, in which she illustrated through her examples and evidential support. She was successfully able to add scholarship on a subject matter that has been controversial and puzzling among previous historians, such as Clifford.

  4. Another question to consider: In her argument, does Carter explain how Volterran urns influenced the change of language from Etruscan to Latin during the period of Romanization?

    • Revision for this question (sorry): In her argument, does Carter explain why studying Volterran urns helps scholars to understand the change of language from Etruscan to Latin during the period of Romanization?

  5. I believe that among the examples given near the end of the article Carter states that one of the models “(pl.71, fig.6) is dated by its context to the third or second century B.C.” (544). This would have been after the fifth and forth century times of conflict and initial Romanization of most of the Etruscan southern cities. So by these date most of these Etruscans would have been absorbed into the expanding and dominant Roman power. Carter references this by stating, “when the people whose ashes were placed inside were already Roman citizens and spoke Latin rather than Etruscan” (545).

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