Archaeologists unearth 'birthplace of Roman emperor' in Italy

Aug 06, 2009
A marble bust of Roman Emperor Vespasian. Archaeologists said Thursday they had unearthed the ruins of a villa believed to be the birthplace of the Roman Emperor who reigned almost 2,000 years ago.

Archaeologists said Thursday they had unearthed the ruins of a villa believed to be the birthplace of a Roman Emperor who reigned almost 2,000 years ago.

Professor Filippo Coarelli, who is leading the dig, said "numerous clues" pointed to the site as the house of Vespasian, who ruled the Roman Empire from 69 AD to 79 AD.

The location of the villa, in the ancient city of Falacrine, 70 kilometres (45 miles) northeast of Rome, was a strong indicator that the site was where the ruler was born, Coarelli added.

Vespasian was born in the city, which was lost until 2005 when archaelogists located the site and began excavating it.

In addition, the luxurious property could only have been built by a wealthy person such as the father of Vespasian, who was a banker from the region, the said.

The first-century villa forms a complex stretching over 14,000 square metres (150,000 square feet) and is lavishly decorated nestling amid the Apennine mountains.

But it was not certain the building was the emperor's birthplace, Coarelli said, as there were no markings which made this clear.

"Villas from this era do not generally have inscriptions, which complicates the identification of their owners," he said.

The is being carried out by an international team of about 20 archaeologists from Britain, France and Italy.

Vespasian -- whose full name was Titus Flavius Vespasianus -- is credited with restoring peace to the ailing Roman Empire following a period of instability sparked by the death of Emperor Nero.

He is also known for starting work on the Coliseum in Rome.

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: Changing dinosaur tracks spurs novel approach

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Ancient seaside villa found near Rome

Apr 16, 2006

Workers digging a new sewage system for a coastal resort near Rome found the remains of a second-century villa belonging to two Roman senators.

A large Roman-era villa is discovered

May 02, 2006

Italian archeologists have reportedly discovered the remains of a huge Roman villa near Florence -- the first ever in the popular tourist area.

Archaeologists conduct historic dig

Jul 18, 2005

Archaeologists from 19 nations are digging in the Mediterranean to determine how society changed at the end of the classical Greek and Rome periods.

Recommended for you

Crowd-sourcing Britain's Bronze Age

19 hours ago

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

19 hours ago

(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 ...

Roman dig 'transforms understanding' of ancient port

(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 ...

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.

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight, plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led international team ...

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...