Tomb of the Dancers

The Tomb of the Dancers or Tomb of the Dancing Women (Italian: Tomba delle Danzatrici) is a Peucetian tomb in Ruvo di Puglia, Italy. It was discovered in the Corso Cotugno necropolis in November 1833.[1] The date of its construction is uncertain, dates ranging from the end of the fifth century BC[2] to the mid-fourth century BC[1] have been proposed. In any case, the tomb's frescoes are the oldest example of figurative painting in Apulia, together with another tomb in Gravina di Puglia. The Peucetians borrowed the practice of painting tombs from the Etruscans, who had an important influence on their culture.[2] The tomb is named after the dancing women which appear on the frescoes in the tomb. The panels with the frescoes are now exhibited in the Naples National Archaeological Museum, inv. 9353.

Fresco from the tomb depicting dancing Peucetian women


The tomb has a semichamber design. Its six painted panels depict thirty or more dancing women, moving from left to right with arms interlocked as though they were dancing a circle around the interior of the tomb. They are dressed in chitons and cloaks and have brightly colored veils on their head. There are three men in the group, distinguished by their white clothes. One of them holds a lyre.[1]

The skeletal remains of the deceased in the tomb clearly belonged to a distinguished male warrior. He was dressed in a helmet, greaves and shield. Next to his right arm were spears and daggers. The grave goods included different types of ceramic pottery. These consisted of kraters, amphorae, kantharoi and some oil lamps. They were arranged on the ground and hung from the lower sections of the walls. The pottery had symbolic and funerary significance.[1]

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  1. ^ a b c d Pascale 2009, p. 297.
  2. ^ a b DeJuliis 2004, p. 267.


  • Pascale, Enrico (2009). Death and Resurrection in Art. Los Angeles, California: Getty Publications. ISBN 978-0-89236-947-8.
  • De Juliis, Ettore M. (2004). "The Etruscans in Apulia". In Bernardini, Paolo; Camporeale, Giovannangelo (eds.). The Etruscans Outside Etruria. Los Angeles, California: Getty Publications. ISBN 978-0-89236-767-2.

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