A unique treasure has been found in archaeological excavations just beside the Via dei Fori Imperiali near the Basilica dei SS Cosma e Damiano. The ivory bust, 25 cm high, is thought to be that of a Roman emperor carved to represent a Greek philosopher. The figure wears a tunic, is holding the right arm raised and has a divided beard. It could be of Marcus Aurelius or Septimus Severus.
This is a unique find for Rome, where carved ivory was usually used for funeral decorations in the first and second century AD.
The small bust, which is blackened and sooty and has been burned at some stage, was found just above a coloured marble floor uncovered in the recently discovered Temple of peace built by Vespasian in 72 AD to house the body of his son Titus who had died in Jerusalem.