Rare painted Roman-era statute is found

March 27, 2006

Scientists have found a Roman statue with its colors preserved, detailing for the first time a Roman woman wearing make-up, the London Times reported.

British and Italian archaeologists recovered the head of a female Amazon warrior from the debris of a collapsed escarpment at Herculaneum, a Roman-era Italian resort that was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D.

Monica Martelli, the archaeological team's restorer, told The Times although the nose and mouth were missing, the hair, pupils and eyelashes were "as pristine as they were when Herculaneum was overwhelmed by the eruption."

"Those eyes are alive, looking at us from 2,000 years ago," Martelli said. "To find this much pigment is very, very special." Although it had been known that Roman statues were painted, only faint traces of pigment had been previously found.

Herculaneum was buried in the same catastrophic eruption that overwhelmed nearby Pompeii. Pompeii was buried in volcanic ash, while Herculaneum became entombed in molten rock.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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