Remains of 2,500-year-old residence suggests that ancient Rome was much bigger than previously thought

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The recent discovery of a large, 2500-year-old residence, in the central part of Rome, points to the possibility that the ancient city was considerably bigger than previously thought. Found on the Quirinal Hill, somewhere between modern-day Via Veneto street and the Termini train station, the ancient rectangular house is remarkably well-intact, complete with clay-smeared walls, wooden beams and even a roof.

Although currently the location of the official residence of Italy’s Head of State, Sergio Mattarella, the Quirinal Hill was originally included within the city’s borders during the reign of the sixth Roman king, Servius Tullius, who instituted the famous Servian Constitution, which divided the society into five different classes according to wealth. Up until now, historians believed that the Quirinal was a sacred place, housing a number of temples and also a necropolis. The residential areas, it was previously thought, were situated close to the Forum, towards the south of the city. Speaking about the find, Francesco Prosperetti, of the Archaeological Heritage of Rome, said:

This is an exceptional find, among the most important of the last 10 years… The remains of this house from the beginning of the sixth century BC is an almost unparalleled example of ancient architecture in this city.

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Constructed atop a commonly-found volcanic stone, known as tufa, the newly-uncovered house consisted of two rooms, with the porch acting as the main entrance. Further, the site contains several distinct clues that suggest the building was used for residential purposes. According to Mirella Serlorenzi, the head of the excavation team, it could have been the residence of a custodian in charge of looking after a nearby temple, which was unearthed back in 2013. Serlorenze said:

At the beginning of the sixth century BC, Rome was much larger than we previously thought before this latest discovery.

In addition to being centered at the Forum, ancient Rome, researchers think, was spread over a much larger area than originally believed. Darius Arya, an archaeologist currently involved with the excavation works at Ostia Antica, added:

Many grand projects of restoration going on now are focused on the monuments we know, like the Colosseum and the Trevi Fountain, but there is much of Rome’s history that is not so well-preserve. What is so amazing is that this discovery dates back to Archaic Rome, a crucial period – the regal period — that made Rome so great.

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The ruins of the Roman Forum

Via: National Post

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