In addition to 3,000 coins, among the offerings found in that ancient place of healing, there are bronze pieces in the shape of different parts of the body, such as legs, ears, penis, and uterus, which possibly represented the points of illness or disease.
Italian archaeologists who have been exploring an ancient sanctuary located near geothermal springs in The Italian commune of San Casciano Dei Bagni, a small Tuscan village in the province of Siena, have unearthed more than 3,000 coins, as well as bronze sacrificial offerings in the shape of various parts of the human body, such as ears, legs, uterus and penis.
In Roman times, many people hoped to get rid of their ailments through these tributes to the gods, according to the Italian agency ANSA.
San Casciano Dei Bagni is known for its geothermal springs, which began to be used in Etruscan times. Before the recent discovery, the archaeologists – who have been working there for three years – had already discovered a large pond, votive objects, altars dedicated to the gods, an impressive bas-relief with the image of a large bull, and a splendid ‘putto’ – ornamental motif of a child figure, usually nude and winged – in bronze, a masterpiece of the Hellenistic period.
But the real surprise announced by the archaeologist Jacopo Tabolli came in the last weeks with the discovery of open-air Roman baths, as well as a multi-level sanctuary built under Emperor Augustus and standing on the site of an even older one dating from Etruscan times.
Tabolli pointed out that perhaps the most important of the new finds is an amazing bronze uterus, made in the years between the end of the Roman Republic and the beginning of the Empire.
“Terracotta wombs are often found in Etruscan and Roman temples dedicated to fertility; the bronze ones are extremely rare,” explained the archaeologist.
Other notable objects found include a bronze ear from the early years of the Empire, which a man named Aulus Nonius dedicated to the gods to cure an illness, as well as a very unusual leg and penis, also in bronze.
And that’s not counting “more than 3,000 newly minted coins,” Giacomo specified. Pardini, an expert from the University of Salerno.
The researchers explained that the o bandages placed in places associated with healing often represented diseased parts of the body.