New archaeological treasure uncovered near Colosseum
August 23, 2011. One by one, day after day, these workers are uncovering a true piece of art. It's an ancient mosaic that's about 2,000 years old. For now, it's mostly covered in dirt, dust and soil.
“It's unique because we are in 2011, and finding something like this in a town like Rome that has been excavated and researched at least since the 15th century. It's a great discovery, that's why it's unique.”
The wall is just a few feet away from the Colosseum. Experts believe it was part of a tunnel built to support Trajan's Baths, which was a type of recreational or social center where the upper class would discuss art and listen to music around the year 109 A.D. The wall itself includes an image of Apollo, the Greek god.
“It's covered with a beautiful mosaic representing Apollo and the Muses and philosophers and it's in an exceptional state of preservation.”
Cultural Assessor of Rome
“This restores the dignity of this site and so many others in Rome. Every day, the city gives us a new archeological gift. We've returned its merit by restoring it into what it was built for.”
The mosaic was first discovered in 1998, when it was used as a type of warehouse or tool shed. But it took years to study the sturdiness of the wall, not to mention setting up camp inside the site itself. Now, the wall that runs almost 7 feet high and 53 feet wide is finally being uncovered, stone by stone, one brush at a time.
“After we uncovered the mosaic, we need to fix it, to restore it, to clean it, to fix the parts that may fall.”
But the process is far from over. Experts believe the wall itself is even longer. It could stretch even 26 more feet in height. But getting there isn't easy. The city predicts it needs nearly $1 million dollars to finish the excavation. There could be even more mosaics in the area. In the meantime, the city is considering if, when and how it can be open to the general public.