Rome metro line runs into Roman barracks and burial ground

May 16, 2016
An archeologist checks human bones as ancient roman ruins of former barracks were discovered during work on a new underground line, in Rome, Monday, May 16, 2016. Work on the Metro C being built through the center of Rome has once again run into ancient roman ruins, this time the barracks for the Roman Praetorian guards dating back to the period of Emperor Hadrian, in the second century A.D. Officials say the barracks cover 900 square meters, and include a 100 meter hallway with 39 rooms. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Work to upgrade Rome's public transport has again run up against an ancient problem: archaeological ruins.

Culture ministry officials on Monday showed reporters where work on the city's third subway line unearthed barracks for Roman Praetorian guards dating from the second century.

While construction workers poured concrete at the planned Amba Aradam metro stop, an archaeologist just a few meters away brushed dirt from a small bronze bracelet.

The barracks, discovered nine meters (about 30 feet) below street level, cover 900 square meters (9600 square feet) and include a long hallway and 39 rooms decorated with black-and-white mosaics on the floors and frescoed walls.

"It's exceptional, not only for its good state of conservation but because it is part of a neighborhood which already included four barracks," said Rossella Rea of the Culture Ministry. "And therefore, we can characterize this area as a military neighborhood."

A view of ancient roman ruins discovered during work on a new underground line, in Rome, Monday, May 16, 2016. Work on the Metro C being built through the center of Rome has once again run into ancient roman ruins, this time the barracks for the Roman Praetorian guards dating back to the period of Emperor Hadrian, in the second century A.D. Officials say the barracks cover 900 square meters, and include a 100 meter hallway with 39 rooms. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Archaeologists have also found a collective grave at the barracks, where they have so far discovered 13 adult skeletons along with a bronze coin and a bronze bracelet.

Officials hope to incorporate the discovery into the new metro station, which is scheduled to open in 2020. Work on Rome's Metro Line C has been beset by delays due to corruption probes and funding shortages since launching in 2007.

An archeologist checks ancient roman ruins discovered during work on a new underground line, in Rome, Monday, May 16, 2016. Work on the Metro C being built through the center of Rome has once again run into ancient roman ruins, this time the barracks for the Roman Praetorian guards dating back to the period of Emperor Hadrian, in the second century A.D. Officials say the barracks cover 900 square meters, and include a 100 meter hallway with 39 rooms. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Media visit the site where ancient roman ruins were discovered during work on a new underground line, in Rome, Monday, May 16, 2016. Work on the Metro C being built through the center of Rome has once again run into ancient roman ruins, this time the barracks for the Roman Praetorian guards dating back to the period of Emperor Hadrian, in the second century A.D. Officials say the barracks cover 900 square meters, and include a 100 meter hallway with 39 rooms. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
A view of ancient roman ruins discovered during work on a new underground line, in Rome, Monday, May 16, 2016. Work on the Metro C being built through the center of Rome has once again run into ancient roman ruins, this time the barracks for the Roman Praetorian guards dating back to the period of Emperor Hadrian, in the second century A.D. Officials say the barracks cover 900 square meters, and include a 100 meter hallway with 39 rooms. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
A view of ancient roman ruins and mosaics discovered during work on a new underground line, in Rome, Monday, May 16, 2016. Work on the Metro C being built through the center of Rome has once again run into ancient roman ruins, this time the barracks for the Roman Praetorian guards dating back to the period of Emperor Hadrian, in the second century A.D. Officials say the barracks cover 900 square meters, and include a 100 meter hallway with 39 rooms. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
A view of ancient roman ruins and mosaics discovered during work on a new underground line, in Rome, Monday, May 16, 2016. Work on the Metro C being built through the center of Rome has once again run into ancient roman ruins, this time the barracks for the Roman Praetorian guards dating back to the period of Emperor Hadrian, in the second century A.D. Officials say the barracks cover 900 square meters, and include a 100 meter hallway with 39 rooms. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
A view of ancient roman ruins discovered during work on a new underground line, in Rome, Monday, May 16, 2016. Work on the Metro C being built through the center of Rome has once again run into ancient roman ruins, this time the barracks for the Roman Praetorian guards dating back to the period of Emperor Hadrian, in the second century A.D. Officials say the barracks cover 900 square meters, and include a 100 meter hallway with 39 rooms. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Explore further: Greeks hope to save ancient road on subway site

Related Stories

Greeks hope to save ancient road on subway site

October 7, 2013

When a brand-new subway system hits an ancient road, surely something has to give. But in one northern Greek city, archaeologists are fighting to combine the two, against government plans to remove and display elsewhere a ...

Subway work unearths ancient road in Greece

June 26, 2012

(AP) — Archaeologists in Greece's second-largest city have uncovered a 70-meter (230-foot) section of an ancient road built by the Romans that was city's main travel artery nearly 2,000 years ago.

Ancient skeletons dug up at Florence's Uffizi

February 12, 2014

Work to expand the Uffizi Gallery's exhibit space has unearthed an ancient cemetery with dozens of skeletons archaeologists say might have been victims of the plague or some other epidemic that swept through Florence during ...

Recommended for you

Evolution of cooperation through longer memory

April 19, 2017

When we make a decision about whether or not to cooperate with someone, we usually base our decision on past experiences—how has this person behaved in the past?—and on future reciprocity—will they return the favor?—and ...

8 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Lex Talonis
3 / 5 (2) May 23, 2016
Just a thought.

If the people who made and occupied the original site, and those who came after them, didn't give enough of a fuck about the place , other than to die out and move on, then how come "we" are going "Oh so totally archeologically ape shit" over these rubbish dumps of history?

"Oh noes, we have to dig up this shit and preserve it - because it's culturally important", well it wasn't culturally important when they gave up on it 2000 - 3000 years ago, so why is a pile of shit buried under 50 feet of dirt suddenly become so important, simply on the basis of some people blundering into it with an excavator?
antialias_physorg
3.7 / 5 (3) May 23, 2016
I wonder how they can do any earthworks in Rome at all. If you've ever been to the city you'll know that it is chock full of archaeological/culturally important sites. If you haven't it should be first on your list when you visit the rteagion.
Guy_Underbridge
3 / 5 (2) May 23, 2016
...so why is a pile of shit buried under 50 feet of dirt suddenly become so important, simply on the basis of some people blundering into it with an excavator?
Should we only pay attention to those sites where our ancestors left a big sign 2000-3000 years ago stating "Cultural/Historically Significant Stuff"?
huckmucus
3.7 / 5 (3) May 23, 2016
"On this spot 3,000 years ago nothing happened."
Phys1
1 / 5 (1) May 23, 2016
@mucus
Be careful, the remnants date back only 2000 years ago. Rome is traditionally believed to have been found in the year 2769 which is less than 3000 years ago, if you follow me.
So your comment is besides the point.
Guy_Underbridge
3 / 5 (2) May 24, 2016
Rome is traditionally believed to have been found in the year 2769...
Phys, just because you're from the future does mean we appreciate your bragging about it.
Uncle Ira
3 / 5 (2) May 24, 2016
Rome is traditionally believed to have been found in the year 2769...
Phys, just because you're from the future does mean we appreciate your bragging about it.


I think he was meaning 2769 years ago from now. According to the legends it was founded in 753 BC.
Lex Talonis
3 / 5 (2) May 26, 2016
It's not that old the old historic stuff is unimportant, or rubbish, but this necrphilliac obsession with digging up every prehisotic dung heap, photographing, catalogging and preserving every artifact in in endless piles of boxes in city sized museums...

We have more historical sites and archeological things to explore, and more shit to dig up, endless catalogs of lists of things to dig up......

This historic stuff is not wrong, but I'd like too air the concept of just ramming the bulldozers through the lot, more often....

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.