Tomb X, Albate

Tomb X, Albate (Como), mid-6th century BC

Albate’s tomb X contained the most exceptional grave goods of all the necropolis and bears witness to the honor paid in death to high ranking members of mid-6th century BC Golasecca society. The tomb belongs to a female, as is evident from the types of bronze, coral and glass ornaments it contains. The grave goods also include an embossed bronze sheet situla and a vase in the shape of a duck. The situla, generally used to hold drinks at banquets and here used as a funerary urn, is missing the handle, probably a symbolic reference to death breaking the bonds of life.

The duck shaped vase, which in light of its unusual form is unlikely to have been of any practical use, is considered to have had a ritual function. In northern European mythology aquatic birds are associated with the sun, because they recall the bird shaped bow and stern of the boat that was believed to carry the sun in its journey across the sky.