Biconical urn
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Biconical urn

Biconical urn
Vulci, necropolis of the Osteria
9th cent BC
blended ceramic
cat. 15310

The biconical ossuary is one of the most characteristic elements of the culture of Villanova. The name derives from the area near Bologna where the burial places of the fist Iron Age, in which these vases acted as cinerary urns, were first discovered in 1853. The urn that was destined for funerary use had from the beginning only one handle; the second handle, if it had one, was intentionally broken during the funerary rite. Various of these vases have a complex decoration of a geomoetrical type engraved and stamped on their surface. They were closed either by a dish or by a ceramic reproduction of a helmet. The latter element was the only form of personalization of a cinerary urn that was otherwise without any characterization in the anthropomorphous sense, a tendency that later assumed particular importance in certain cultural areas (cf. spherical amphora)