Etruscan Odyssey

Legendary in the ancient world for their wealth, spirituality, and the exceptional freedoms for women, the Etruscan civilization has been shrouded in mystery.  The early Mediterranean dynasty of Etruria flourished for a thousand years and vanished, leaving beguiling art and artifacts, but little trace of its history.  After decades of work, archaeologists now are piecing together a fascinating portrait of daily life in Etruscan society. Gregory Warden of Southern Methodist University is employing some new methods and coming up with some new answers.



Before and during the Roman dynasties, the mysterious Etruscan civilization dominated the central region of ancient Italy, around what is now the heartland of Tuscany. While the origins of the Etruscans are lost to prewritten history, Etruria is distinguished from other ancient societies by its remarkable culture, which possessed a unique language, powerful women, arcane religious beliefs, and magnificent art and architecture.

This film documents the work of Dr. P. Gregory Warden and his team as they search the hilltops of Poggio Colia, Italy, for clues into the mysterious Etruscan civilization. By restoring and cataloguing the cultural artifacts left behind by ancient settlers, modern archaeologists attempt to reconstruct a picture of daily life in Etruria. They ponder what it might have been like to make the great gold jewels for the ruling families or to build complex sarcophagi to hold their remains.

“A fast paced and stunning visual journey through history and material culture of one of Italy’s most dynamic civilizations.”—Rex Wallace, Professor, Center for Etruscan Studies, University of Massachusetts


“A feast of Etruscan art, artifacts and landscapes. . . a sensitive interpretation by leading excavators of standard Etruscan issues such as origins and disappearance . . . and the major topic of Etruscan religion.”—Nancy de Grummond, PhD, Florida State University