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“Exceptional” discovery of ancient bronzes in Italy


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"An extraordinary series of near-perfectly preserved bronze statues have been unearthed at a natural thermal spa in Italy.

"Twenty-four statues were discovered in the Tuscan village of San Casciano dei Bagni which lies halfway between Rome and Florences. The region is known for a series of natural thermal pools and San Casciano dei Bagni boasts a 2,000-year-old spa, Balnea Clusinae that legend says was founded by Porsenna, an Etruscan king. Romans continued to use the baths in Antiquity and the town attracted visitors from throughout Europe from the Renaissance through the early 20th Century."

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And if the find wasn't amazing enough, the "statues were covered by almost 6,000 bronze, silver, and gold coins"!

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On 11/8/2022 at 8:50 PM, AncientOne said:

That's an awesome find. Let's hear more about the coins.

Another article and some of the coins photos I found on internet

https://www.cnn.com/style/article/san-casciano-dei-bagni-thermal-baths-relics-scn/index.html

......The number of coins of bronze, silver and orichalcum -- a precious metal believed by the Romans to have mystical powers -- found in the big bath is also extraordinary, said Tabolli. It is the largest collection of ancient currency associated with hot springs in the Mediterranean, and unique also for their perfect state of preservation. The coins have retained their original coloring both thanks to the water's chemical properties and due to being blanketed by mud, which prevented oxidation.
"They're still shiny brown and shiny yellow -- such bright colors have never been found in any excavation site," said Tabolli. "It's a miracle."

..................................Rare items believed to have been used as votive offerings to the gods -- including so-called fertility statuettes shaped like a phallus, a womb and a pair of breasts -- have been dug out from the site's mud. So have 3,000 ancient coins, 700 of which are freshly minted -- and still shiny. In the second century AD, Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius Carus had the coins thrown into the baths to honor gods watching over his health, as well as that of all Romans traveling to San Casciano for thermal treatment.

 

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Edited by singig
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Even though the bronze statues are of far greater interest, I think -- think how few have survived from antiquity compared to marble statues, given that most were melted down -- those are great photos of the coins, probably looking a lot like they did when they were offered up. 

I never heard of orichalcum being referred to as a precious metal before. Wasn't it just an alloy of copper, tin, zinc, etc.?

Edited by DonnaML
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Yes. It’s not a precious metal at all. As far as I know it was not really seen as such then either. There was a lot found near Gela in Sicily fairly recently and it was discussed only as a brassy metal, not anything precious and certainly not mystically precious...

 

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