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News: Italy
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Overhead view of mosaic floors from 2nd century commander's domus. Photo Credit: Soprintendenza Speciale Archeologia Belle Arti e Paessaggio di Roma/The History Blog.
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by Archaeology Newsroom

Ancient domus found during subway line works in Rome

It is remarkably well preserved

Works for a new subway line in Rome have once more revealed an ancient house with a central courtyard.

The discovery, which was announced last week, was during construction works 12 metres under the level of the Amba Aradam station, near the Basilica of San Giovanni Laterano (St John Lateran),one of the capital’s largest churches.

The discovery is of a domus with rich decorations, mosaic floors and frescoed walls, probably belonging to the commander of the military post; two years ago a dormitory and military barracks dating to the 2nd century were found at the site.

The new findings comprise a house with a central courtyard, a fountain, and at least 14 rooms in 300 square meters, according to state archaeologist Simona Morretta. The house is remarkably well-preserved and the decorations are almost intact.

Another structure which is equally large but not so carefully decorated has been also excavated, was probably used as a warehouse.

Dirt filling the rooms indicates that the house had been buried in the 3rd century, a bit before Roman Emperor Aurelian started constructing the walls around the city in 271 AD.

Among the findings are also wooden artefacts, probably used for building foundations, as well as beams.

Works for the construction of the subway line have allowed archaeologists to dig deeper than usual, as they go as deep as 100 metres below ground. The villa was found three meters beneath the level of the barracks.

The findings will be dismantled and removed and put in temporary storage while the Amba Aradam station works continue, and will be returned to the site to be included in the final station, open to passengers and the public.

The station is scheduled to open in 2022.

NOTES