Vita Gazette

News from Italy

Ancient discovery in Rome:

A luxurious house with unparalleled mosaics

Vita gazette – Archaeologists have discovered a sumptuous ancient Roman house with unrivalled mosaics near the Colosseum. The approximately 2,000-year-old building is a true treasure with its works of art comprising shells, marble and precious glass.

Archaeologists discovered walls at the site in 2018, which later became part of a multi-story house. Only a few chambers have been found, and excavations will continue until 2024.

One of the most important archaeological sites in Italy, the Colosseum is a true mine of incredible treasures: only a short time ago, the Tiberian Domus was reopened to the public, and now experts have brought to light another jewel of inestimable value. The wall remains of an ancient domus from the late Republican era, located on the slopes of the Palatine Hill, precisely behind the area where the Horrea Agrippina is located (the warehouses built along the commercial road that connected the port on the Tiber and the Roman forum).

It has been ascertained that the house, located in the Palatine-Roman Forum area near the Colosseum, where the ancient Roman ruins are concentrated, was built in the late Republican period, between the second half of the 2nd century BC. and the end of the 1st century BC.

The excavations carried out in 2018 had made it possible to identify some wall structures, but only now have the luxurious environments that characterised this Domus emerged. The house probably developed on several floors, with numerous terraces: its construction has gone through three different phases, spanning the second half of the 2nd century BC and the end of the 1st century BC. Based on the first studies, its layout around a garden appears clear, which must also have served as an atrium.

A cave-style banquet hall

According to the Ministry of Culture, Tomas’ main hall, arranged around an atrium, was a cave-style banquet hall used during summer. The owner was probably a senator who entertained his visitors with “spectacular water features”, as indicated by the lead pipes between the ornate walls.

The mosaic shows three large ships sailing through the waves towards a fortified coastal city. The scene suggests that Tomas’ owner has won a battle. The house dates back to the second half of the 2nd century BC until the beginning of the Christian era. Multicoloured stones adorn the wall coverings of ancient Roman houses. A “high quality” white stucco was also found.

A fantastic mosaic wall covering

It is a “rustic” mosaic made with different materials: shells, flakes of white marble, Egyptian blue tiles, fragments of spongy travertine, precious glass and pozzolana cretones, all bonded with mortar. The scenes depicted are also complex and varied, a proper sequence of figures. According to experts, the mosaic dates back to the last decades of the 2nd century BC.

“After the reopening of the Tiberian domus and the improvement of the accessibility of the Flavian Amphitheater, the heart of Rome has revealed an authentic treasure, which we will take care to safeguard and make accessible to the public. The archaeological excavation will conclude in the first months of 2024. We will subsequently work intensely to make this place, among the most evocative of ancient Rome, accessible to the public as soon as possible,” stated Gennaro Sangiuliano, Minister of Culture.

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