Ancient statue of Hercules discovered during sewage repair work in Rome

A statue believed to be around 2,000 years old was found in Rome during repair work on a sewage system.

The life-size marble statue depicting a male figure dressed as the Roman mythological hero Hercules was discovered in a public garden in Rome during sewer pipe restoration works, near the Appia Antica archaeological area.

It emerged, head-on, as a bulldozer was tearing up old pipes that needed replacing. An archaeologist in charge of the project intervened immediately.

While these types of finds are very common in Rome during excavations, workers from Acea (a multiple utility company in the field of water and energy) only found the statue after weeks of work without any prior trace of any evidence. archaeological, 10 meters underground. floor.

A life-size ancient Roman statue of Hercules lies face up in the Appia Archaeological Park in Rome, on January 30, 2023. -Domenico Stinellis/AP Photo

Italian Ministry of Culture/AP Photo

The site below the ancient Appian Way in Rome where the ancient Roman life-size statue of Hercules was discovered. – Italian Ministry of Culture/AP Photo

Archaeologists so far believe that the statue could date from imperial times, and hypotheses have already been made about the identity of the man portrayed.

According to archaeologist Francesca Romana Paolillo, one of the archaeologists working in the Appia Antica Archaeological Park, the statue’s features resemble those of the Roman emperor Decius, who lived in the 3rd century AD.

The artifact was discovered near the ancient Appian Way, the 650-kilometre-long road that connected Rome with the city of Brindisi at the heel of the boot-shaped peninsula.

This was one of the most important roads ever built by the Romans.

Other recent discoveries

Andrew Medichini/AP Photo

A Pompeian-style fresco from Herculaneum titled “Young Hercules and the Serpent”, dated to the 1st century AD -Andrew Medichini/AP Photo

In other herculean news, last month an ancient fresco representing the demigod was returned to Italyalong with 59 other significant artifacts after being illegally smuggled into the US.

Last summer, US authorities announced that the fresco and dozens of other smuggled objects, which ended up in private collections in the United States, would return to Italy.

Among the most valuable pieces returned to Rome are a BC kylix and a shallow two-handled drinking vessel, believed to be around 2,600 years old.

In addition, in November of last year an “exceptional” treasure of bronze statuespreserved for thousands of years by mud and boiling water, it was discovered in a network of baths built by the Etruscans in Tuscany.

The discovery of the 24 statues, in the sacred baths of the archaeological excavation of San Casciano dei Bagni, near Siena, is one of the most significant in the Mediterranean and, without a doubt, the most important since the underwater discovery in 1972 of the famous Riace’s bronze warriors.

Jacopo Tabolli, who coordinated the excavation for the University for Foreigners in Siena, said the discovery was significant because it sheds new light on the end of the Etruscan civilization and the expansion of the Roman Empire, which was marked by wars and conflicts in present-day Tuscany. . , Umbria and Lazio regions.

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