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Elaborate Roman mosaics discovered beneath an apartment block get their own underground museum

Updated 7th October 2020
A series of Roman mosaics were discovered during construction work in 2014.
Credit: Soprintendenza Speciale di Roma/BNP Paribas Real Estate
Elaborate Roman mosaics discovered beneath an apartment block get their own underground museum
Written by Jack GuySharon Braithwaite, CNN
A subterranean museum is set to open next month, featuring elaborate Roman mosaics discovered beneath an apartment building in the Italian capital.
The site was discovered during construction work on the building six years ago, BNP Paribas Real Estate, which owns the site, said in a statement Tuesday.
Archaeologists from the Special Superintendence of Rome worked on the site, which is in a residential complex on the Aventine Hill, one of the seven hills of Ancient Rome.
Visitors will be able to see the mosaics when the museum opens in November.
Visitors will be able to see the mosaics when the museum opens in November. Credit: Soprintendenza Speciale di Roma/BNP Paribas Real Estate
During the excavation, they discovered mosaics, structures and other artifacts, and a multimedia exhibition using video mapping and projections will help explain the site's history to visitors.
There were some signs that the area was inhabited around 900 BC, according to the statement. The site also includes a block wall dating from 700-400 BC that may have been the foundation of a watchtower.
The mosaics were laid in an upper-class Roman home.
The mosaics were laid in an upper-class Roman home. Credit: Soprintendenza Speciale di Roma/BNP Paribas Real Estate
Archaeologists also found that the area was leveled to increase the available flat surface, and around the middle of the 2nd century BC a domus -- a type of private residence for the upper classes -- was built.
The piece de resistance is a mosaic in black and white tiles from the end of the 1st century BC, and there is also a mosaic fragment dating from the reign of Emperor Trajan (98-117 AD).
The museum features a multimedia exhibition.
The museum features a multimedia exhibition. Credit: Soprintendenza Speciale di Roma/BNP Paribas Real Estate
Then, during Hadrian's reign (117-138 AD), more black and white mosaics were laid in geometric patterns, one of which will be on display, followed by five more mosaics from the Antonine period (150-175 AD).
"In recent years we have worked as a team with the Superintendency to complete a unique archaeological project for the city of Rome: a museum inside an apartment building," said Piero Cocco-Ordini, CEO of BNP Paribas Real Estate Italy, who called the site "a hidden treasure chest, a thousand-year witness to our past."
In May, another beautiful ancient Roman mosaic was uncovered in northern Italy.
The remarkably well preserved mosaic floor was uncovered in a vineyard in Negrar, north of the city of Verona, almost a century after the remains of an ancient villa were found on the site.
Pictures of the floor posted by the town's officials show its intricate patterns and colorful detail, much of which has been preserved perfectly through the centuries.