Road works have been undertaken in the town of Rome. During the work, the workers dug half a meter underground. To their amazement, they discovered a funerary complex. Thus, the renovation of a waterway has turned into an archaeological dig. The researchers of the International Society for Archaeology, Art and Architecture of Rome (ISAR) then carried out the work. Three 2000-year-old mausoleums have been identified there. Apart from the graves, archaeologists have also found a dog head statue.
The excavations took place in Appio Latino, a district located southeast of Rome. This name is not insignificant, because it bears the heritage of the Roman past. Indeed, the name of Appio Latino comes from the fact that the district is crossed by two ancient roads: the Via Appia and the Via Latina. The discoveries were made in the latter.
The Via Latina was built around the fourth century. It is one of the first Roman roads. Its length is 200 km. In 2013, the international journal The Papers of the British School at Rome published a study on the Via Latina. This road would generally have been used for military purposes between Rome and the city of Capua.
A special statuette
The dog head statue is made of terracotta. By the way, it is well sculpted. First, the animal has pointed ears. Then, the fur at the level of the head and the neck are wavy. At the level of the chest, the statuette presents a collar provided with an escutcheon. As for the legs, they are decorated by a circular object. In a statement, the researchers said that the breed of the dog remains unknown. They add that over the last millennium, species have evolved considerably.
This dog head statue is small enough to fit in a single handle. This reason has led researchers to question its usefulness. Some have speculated that it would be a drain tool that the Romans placed on the roofs. This lead seemed unlikely. Indeed, the part has no orifice to evacuate the water. Scientists then abandoned this hypothesis. It could be a simple decorative object.
Many legacies remain to be discovered
Rome has not yet unveiled all of its cultural heritage. Other vestiges of the past are still there and just waiting to come out into the open. According to the scientists, the totality of the excavations undertaken so far represents only one tenth of the city of Rome. The city’s past has been buried in favor of modern buildings.
“Once again, Rome shows significant traces of the past throughout its urban fabric. »
Daniel Porro, Special Superintendent of Rome
In any case, the findings from the Via Latina give researchers hope. However, the risk of finding damaged objects is high. For good reason, the law on the protection of the heritage of the city of Rome was established only in 1980. For example, in 1954, an underground tomb was discovered there charred.