Cremation was more common than burial among the Etruscan peoples who inhabited Central Italy before Roman domination. The shape of this cinerary urn resembles a primitive dwelling constructed of reeds and mud, with a thatched roof supported by cross beams. Since no intact Etruscan structures have survived, such "hut urns" furnish valuable evidence about early Etruscan architecture.
Ashes were place in the urn through its door, which was then sealed. The schematic figures of persons painted on the sides may indicate participants in a funerary procession, an important part of Etruscan funeral rites. The human figure outside the door is also a typical feature. The rams' heads projecting prominently from the roof symbolize strength and a belief in the renewal of life after death.