TR-2 bone

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Classification: bone
Archaeological type: sortes
Material: bone
Size: length: 7.3 cm, width: 1.5 cm, height: 1.6 cm
Condition: complete, damaged
Date: end of the 2nd–beginning of the 1st centuries BC
Date derived from: archaeological context

Site: Trissino (Vicenza, Veneto, Italy)
Field name: Colle di Castello
Archaeological context: settlement
(Objects: TR-1 bone, TR-2 bone, TR-3 bone, TR-4 bone)
Coordinates (approx.): 45° 34' 6.82" N, 11° 21' 56.99" E
Find date: 1983
Find circumstances: excavation
Current location: Museo Naturalistico Archeologico di Vicenza (repository)
Inventory Nr.: none

Inscription: TR-2 (uθeθ·e)

Sources: Museo Ritrovato 1986: 46 [A36] with photo
Mancini 1995: 147 [No. 3.2] with fig.


Animal bone.
Metacarpus of domestic pig (Sus scrofa domestica or Sus domesticus). On one end lightly broken, here the spongiosa structure visible. Whitish; not smoothed.
The above-mentioned dimensions result of the autopsy by the Thesaurus Inscriptionum Raeticarum. Mancini indicates an "osso di maiale domestico lungo mm. 74, largo mm. 15–11" (cp. Mancini 1995: 147). Marchesini notes: "Lungh 7,4 cm; spess max 1,9 cm" (cp. MLR: 248).
On the proximal articular surface, median side an inscription.
The inscribed bone was found 1983 in Trissino, Colle di Castello, in the area of the current cimitery. During the excavation of this year a large construction composed by three terraces of large stone blocks where the lower terrace leads to a large, rectangular room bordered by dry stone walls came to light. In the lowest carboniferous stratum of the large room was found a group of numerous bone i.a. the present bone. Moreover a fragment of a silver torque and a coin came to light. All bones are bones of domestic pig (Sus scrofa domestica or Sus domesticus). The bones belong to four adult and three subadult animals. Altogether can be discerned ten metacarpi, fourteen metatarsi, seven first phalanges and one second phalange (cp. Museo Ritrovato 1986: 46; the determination was executed by Alfonso Riedel).

The bones are preserved in the repository of the Museo Naturalistico Archeologico di Vicenza. According Ruta Serafini the torque is also stored in the Museo Naturalistico Archeologico di Vicenza with the inventory number I.G. 179118 (cp. Museo Ritrovato 1986: 46 [A35]). Related to the find context and the other findings cp. Museo Ritrovato 1986: 46 [A35], 46 [A36]; Ruta Serafini 2002: 259–260.
The entire find context of Trissino, Colle di Castello is dated from the end of the 2nd to the beginning of the 1st centuries BC where the age determination is based on the dating of the torque and the coin (cp. Museo Ritrovato 1986: 46 [A35], 46 [A36]; Ruta Serafini 2002: 259–260.
The group of the 32 pig bones from Trissino, Colle di Castello where four are inscribed (beside the present bone cp. in the Thesaurus Inscriptionum Raeticarum: TR-1 bone, TR-3 bone, TR-4 bone) were interpreted as sortes (cp. Ruta Serafini in Mancini 1995: 146: "che si tratta di un insieme di oggetti da connettere con pratiche oracolari, molto probabilmente quindi di sortes"). Therefore the structure excavated in 1983 is considered as place for ritual acts. In the context of these the bones, i.e. sortes, were used for cleromancy. But it must be mentioned that the sortes were used for rituals not only in public life, but also in private life. For the interpretation as sortes and further explanations cp. Museo Ritrovato 1986: 46 [A36]; Ruta Serafini in Mancini 1995: 146; Ruta Serafini 2002: 259–260. Sortes were common in all over Pre-Roman and Roman Italy. Not only bones were used as sortes, there are also bronze sortes with ornamental decorations and decorations similar to characters. The three bronze fragments kept in the Castello del Buonconsiglio incorporated in the Thesaurus Inscriptionum Raeticarum with HU-4 rod can be interpreted as fragments of such bronze sortes. Also the bronze rod found in Sanzeno, now kept in the Museo Retico Sanzeno, can be considered as sortes. Well preserved examples for bronze sortes, however not inscribed, come from Dercolo, today preserved in the Tyrolean State Museum. Cp. for the sortes in the Fritzens-Sanzeno culture: Zemmer-Plank 2002. Sortes were found in settlements e.g. on the Ganglegg hill, in cult places and as part of votive deposits.
In the references the present bone is indicated with the inventory number 197523. This indication cannot be verified these days. The entire bone group from Trissino, Colle di Castello is indicated with the inventory numbers 197522–197527 (cp. Museo Ritrovato 1986: 46 [A36]), however an assignment to the relative object is not possible anymore.
In the recently released study about the Raetic inscriptions by Marchesini the object is listed with "MLR 282", an autopsy was not effected (cp. MLR: 248 [MLR 282]).
Autopsied by the Thesaurus Inscriptionum Raeticarum in October 2015.



Mancini 1995 Alberto Mancini, "Nuove Iscrizioni Retiche", Quaderni del Dipartimento di Linguistica - Università di Firenze 6 (1995), 137–153.