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Rome unearths ancient domus between Roman Forum and Palatine Hill

Discovery includes exceptional mosaic from second century BC.

A newly discovered ancient Roman domus, unearthed between Rome's Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum, was unveiled by the Italian culture ministry on Tuesday.


Archaeologists say that the ancient structure, which dates to the late Republican age, was built in at least three phases between the second half of the second century BC and the end of the first century BC.


The domus is located in the area of the so-called Horrea Agrippiana warehouse complex along the Vicus Tuscus, a trading street that linked the Roman Forum to the river port on the Tiber.


The discovery of the ancient house came to light as part of an extensive research project carried out by the Colosseum Archaeological Park, the culture ministry said in a statement.


The domus features an extraordinary mosaic. Photo Ministero della Cultura.


A highlight of the newly-unearthed domus is a so-called "rustic" mosaic which has been described as "beyond compare" by culture officials.


Dating to the last decades of the second century BC, the mosaic is made from sea shells, Egyptian blue tesserae, precious glass, tiny fragments of marble and other coloured stones.


The mosaic depicts figurative scenes of land and sea, including weapons and ships, possibly alluding to a military triumph linked to the owner of the domus, a nobleman who was presumably a senator.


Photo Ministero della Cultura



Centred around an atrium, the domus presents a "specus aestivus", a grotto-style space that served as a banquet hall in the summer and was once animated by "spectacular" water effects.


Alfonsina Russo, director of the Colosseum Archaeological Park, said the excavations will conclude early next year, adding: "We will work intensely to make this place, among the most evocative of ancient Rome, accessible to the public as soon as possible."


The domus is the latest site to be unveiled on the Palatine Hill following the recent opening of the Ninfeo della Pioggia and the majestic Domus Tiberiana.



Photos Ministero della Cultura
Marymount - International School Rome
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