Third-century Roman sculptures discovered

Feb 09, 2011
This handout picture released by the press office of the Italian cultural ministry (IMBAC) shows ancient Roman marble statues dated from the third century found inside an ancient Roman villa in Rome. Archaeologists have unearthed a set of six marble sculptures in Rome that likely belonged to a high-ranking official of the Roman Empire, Italy's culture ministry said Wednesday.

Archaeologists have unearthed a set of six marble sculptures in Rome that likely belonged to a high-ranking official of the Roman Empire, Italy's culture ministry said Wednesday.

Led by Roberto Egidi, the group of dug up five marble heads representing members of the Severan imperial dynasty as well as a statue of the Greek god Zeus while excavating a public site.

The figures were buried in an ancient fountain of a lavish Roman villa along the Via Anagnina street in southeast Rome.

The "extraordinary" discovery, one of the biggest and most important in recent memory in the Italian capital, sheds light on housing conditions in the suburbs during the imperial period, the ministry said in a statement.

The sculptures, which were unearthed Tuesday, will be handed over to the National Museum of Rome and will be preserved at the Diocletian Baths near Termini station where they will undergo preliminary restorations immediately.

"It may be that the last owner of the villa was a high-ranking official related to the dynasty" of Septimius Severus, the statement said.

"The existence of a mausoleum dating back to the late imperial period reinforces such a hypothesis due to the ritual, common in the second and third centuries, of burying the owner next to his house," it added.

Severus ruled in 193-211 A.D, restoring stability, though not without bloodshed, to the empire after the turbulent reign of his predecessor Commodus. He founded the Severan dynasty that ended in 235 with the assassination of one of his heirs.

The digs were financed by a group of private entrepreneurs who took action after the discovery last June of other belonging to the sumptuous Roman country house.

Explore further: Changing dinosaur tracks spurs novel approach

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Hadrian's Villa: new secrets found

Feb 06, 2006

Archeologists digging at Hadrian's Villa north of Rome say they've recovered a monumental staircase complete with huge columns and a giant sphinx.

Recommended for you

Crowd-sourcing Britain's Bronze Age

Apr 17, 2014

A new joint project by the British Museum and the UCL Institute of Archaeology is seeking online contributions from members of the public to enhance a major British Bronze Age archive and artefact collection.

Roman dig 'transforms understanding' of ancient port

Apr 17, 2014

(Phys.org) —Researchers from the universities of Cambridge and Southampton have discovered a new section of the boundary wall of the ancient Roman port of Ostia, proving the city was much larger than previously ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

Can new understanding avert tragedy?

As a boy growing up in Syracuse, NY, Sol Hsiang ran an experiment for a school project testing whether plants grow better sprinkled with water vs orange juice. Today, 20 years later, he applies complex statistical ...

Crowd-sourcing Britain's Bronze Age

A new joint project by the British Museum and the UCL Institute of Archaeology is seeking online contributions from members of the public to enhance a major British Bronze Age archive and artefact collection.

Male monkey filmed caring for dying mate (w/ Video)

(Phys.org) —The incident was captured by Dr Bruna Bezerra and colleagues in the Atlantic Forest in the Northeast of Brazil.  Dr Bezerra is a Research Associate at the University of Bristol and a Professor ...