"funerary urns, of great antiquity, Etruscan perhaps"

The Etruscans were an ancient civilisation who dwelled in the area of Tuscany in Italy.  Evidence of their existence is dated as far back as 800BC.  As with other ancient cultures, their artistic abilities were considerable, and far advanced compared to certain contemporaries.  Along with wall painting, metalwork (including jewellery) and bronze work, they are well known for the pieces which were used in burial rituals.  Like the Egyptians, they crafted sarcophagi to house the remains of the dead.  Incredibly detailed and anatomically correct sculptures of the deceased were carved onto the lid.  The Etruscans differed in that they also cremated their dead, and placed the ashes in large terracotta urns with the head of the deceased sculpted on top.  The best examples of these, crafted by skilled artisans, are truly remarkable and rather unique.