Photo courtesy of Jane K. Whitehead

La Piana’s buildings were raised in a typically Etruscan fashion called a graticcio, or wattle-and-daub, construction. Workers first laid unmortared fieldstone foundations walls (shown here, compare with drawing), about 2.75 feet thick. On top of these walls, they set upright poles, between which they wove dense screens of thin wattles (slender poles used in building). The walls were then covered with unbaked clay and plastered over. The structure was given a timber roof, on which baked roof tiles were laid. Paradoxically, the great inferno that destroyed the site actually preserved some of La Piana’s structures, by firing the unbaked clay of the walls.