Combining a guide for the Museum visitor with scholarly discussions of all objects on display, this catalogue provides background on the society, history, technology, and commerce of the Etruscan and Faliscan cultures from the ninth through the first centuries B.C. Several groups of material illustrate social, historical, and technological phenomena currently at the forefront of scholarly debate and study, such as the crucial period of the turnover from Iron Age hut villages to the fully urbanized princely Etruscan cities, the development and extent of ancient literacy, and the position of women and children in ancient societies. Many special objects seldom found or generally inaccessible in the United States include Faliscan tomb groups, Etruscan inscriptions, helmets, and trade goods.
The catalogue presents and analyzes objects of warfare, weaving, animals, religious beliefs, architectural and terracotta roofing ornaments, Etruscan bronze-working for utensils, weapons, and artwork, and fine, generic portraiture. It discusses the symbolic meaning of such objects deposited in tombs as a chariot buried with a Faliscan lady at Narce, a senator's folding stool buried in a later tomb at Chiusi, and a pair of horse bits with the teeth of a chariot team still adhering to them where the teeth fell when sacrificed for a funeral in the fifth-century necropolis at Tarquinia—much later than the horse sacrifice was previously known in Etruria.