Analysis of the ivory remains from the Etruscan tumulus of Carmignano (Central Italy) using 3D digital microscopy


  • Jacopo Crezzini
  • Massimo Tarantini MiC - Soprintendenza archeologia, belle arti e paesaggio - Piazza Pitti 1, 50125 Firenze, Italy
  • Maria Chiara Bettini Museo Archeologico di Artimino ‘F. Nicosia’ - Piazza S. Carlo 3, 50015 (Carmignano, PO), Italy



Proboscidean dentine, Schreger lines, 3D digital microscope, Ivory, Etruscan tumulus


The Tumulus of Montefortini is an Etruscan tomb located in Carmignano (Central Italy), which is believed to date from the 7th century BC. The tumulus is an oval burial mound 80 metres long and 11 metres high, which houses two tombs. More than 10,000 ivory fragments, that were likely part of a rich grave good, were recovered from this site. The main raw material exploited was probably the proboscidean dentine given the presence of the "Schreger lines" on the surfaces of many specimens. In this work we analyzed a sample of this archaeological assemblage using a 3D digital microscope. This noninvasive procedure allowed to investigate the main micromorphological and micromorphometrical features of the proboscidean dentine in a relatively brief time, preserving the integrity of the archaeological finds. Unexpected results regarding to the Schreger structure were obtained from this analysis. Data collected in the present work will be useful to evaluate, through further analysis of the examined sample, the accuracy and reliability of the 3D digital microscopy in the characterization of the proboscidean taxa exploited in the past.






Research Papers