Newfound tomb said to predate Roman Empire
and World Science staff
Archaeologists in Rome have reported finding a 3,000-year-old tomb beneath the Roman Forum, which could pre-date ancient Rome’s birth by roughly 300 years.
Archaeologists told the agency the tomb appeared to date to about 900 and 1,100 B.C. Thus, the people who built it would have pre-dated the ancient Romans. According to legend, the Roman empire was founded in 753 B.C. by the twins Romulus and Remus, who were sons of Mars, the god of war, and were raised by a she-wolf.
The Italian news agency ANSA reported that archaeologists found the tomb after digging in the natural clay beneath the ancient forum, a popular tourist site. They suspect the tomb is part of a whole necropolis, ANSA reported.
“I am convinced that the excavations will bring more tombs to light,” the agency quoted Rome’s archaeology commissioner, Eugenio La Rocca, as saying, according to the Associated Press. The Times of London online quoted Alessandro Delfino, the archaeologist leading the dig, saying the tomb was that of a clan chief.
Italian State TV Thursday night showed excavators removing vases from the tomb, which looked like a deep well. It also contained a funerary urn, ANSA said, and was about 1.7 meters (5 feet, 7 inches) deep.
It also contained eight other hand-shaped vases and a stone in the form of stylized hut, which may have been intended to guard the goods, the agency reported.
Some bird bones were next to the vases, the newspaper La Repubblica in Rome reported, noting, “the tomb belongs to a period in which the city had not yet been founded and the area was occupied by sparse settlements on the hills.” The Times quoted La Rocca saying the tomb showed that there had been organised settlements in Rome between the end of the Bronze Age and the start of the Iron Age.
Last year, archaeologists said they believed they turned up evidence of a palace dating approximately to approximately the era of the legendary founding.
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