"Mini Pompeii" found during Rome Metro C works

Rare discovery of ancient wooden ceiling in Rome's S. Giovanni district.

Rome archaeologists have announced the discovery of two ancient Roman rooms which feature a charred wooden ceiling and intact pieces of furniture, preserved down through the centuries thanks to a fire.

The find was made about nine metres under Via dell'Amba Aradam in the central S. Giovanni neighbourhood during excavations for the capital's ongoing Metro C project.

The discovery of the carbonised wooden ceiling, which dates to the early third century AD, is the first of its kind in Rome.

Archaeologists have hailed the find as a "mini Pompeii" in reference to its well-preserved nature, a rare phenomenon that normally only occurs in exceptional climatic conditions, or in this case, frozen in time by fire.

The skeletons of a crouched dog and its puppy, which likely perished in the blaze, were also discovered, along with fragments of wooden furniture including a small table and the leg of a chair, and a black and white mosaic floor.

Metro C works for Amba Aradam station
Metro C works for Amba Aradam station

The find, at the base of a reinforced concrete shaft for Metro C works, has been described as "evidence of a moment in history" by the city's archaeological superintendent Francesco Prosperetti.

Just over a year ago Rome archaeologists announced the discovery of a 2,000-year-old military base during construction works for the same Metro C station, Amba Aradam.

When the nearby S. Giovanni station opens in September it will display dozens of ancient Roman archaeological finds whose discovery was partially responsible for delaying the troubled Metro C project.

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Wanted in Rome
Wanted in Rome
Wanted in Rome is a monthly magazine in English for expatriates in Rome established in 1985. The magazine covers Rome news stories that may be of interest to English and Italian speaking residents, and tourists as well. The publication also offers classifieds, photos, information on events, museums, churches, galleries, exhibits, fashion, food, and local travel.
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