Carciofo alla Etrusca?

Last Sunday’s outing to Cerveteri and its Etruscan necropolis included a visit to the town’s small museum. Where we saw the following terracotta figurine:
The piece wasn’t labeled, and I had to take the photograph at a weird angle through glass, so the quality is not great. But that looks like an artichoke to me, or maybe a cardoon. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find much on the internet about the Etruscans and the artichoke, but they definitely had it. And it is still a big crop in the region. But I’m just not entirely certain. What do you think?

2 Replies to “Carciofo alla Etrusca?”

  1. In Flora d’Italia (Pignatti, Vol. 3, Pag 163 – Edagricole, Bologna 1982), the author suggests that the domestication that lead to the distinction between C. cardunculus and C. scolymus may have been a consequence of the abundance of wild artichoke in the hills near Cerveteri (Monti della Tolfa).

  2. Indeed, the figure looks like an artichoke but, in fact, could be anything else. As someone already put it, it could even look like Santa Claus with a bag over his shoulder!! For some more info on the different paths of domestication and diversification of C. cardunculus and C. scolymus, there’s an interesting article. Anyway, these region was certainly rich in the species and I would not be surprised that Etruscans new it and used it.

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