Ancient 'life-size' Hercules statue discovered in Rome
The statue was built during the Imperial period of Rome, between 27 BC and 476 AD.
Italian authorities have announced that a "life-sized" marble statue of Hercules was recently discovered during ongoing renovations to Rome's sewage system.
The statue was built during the Imperial period of Rome, between 27 BC and 476 AD. Crews were excavating the area to fix a sewer pipe that had collapsed beneath a park in Rome, producing mudslides and earth fissures.
Archeologists monitored the excavation, which reached a depth of around 65 feet in some parts, as is standard procedure in Rome. Because of "the club and the lion's coat covering [the statue's] head," experts were able to conclude the statue represented Hercules.
However, experts argue that the statue was not discovered at the location where the ancient Romans most likely placed it. Instead, they assume the statue was buried there during the sewer system's construction in the first half of the twentieth century.
The statue was discovered along the Appian Way, a historic road that connects Rome to Italy's southeastern area. The route was important in Rome's conquest of Southern Italy, and it was used to deliver military supplies. Italy is actively attempting to have the road classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Other archaeological finds included a first-century marble head of a man, ceramic fragments, money, and jewelry discovered near the Appian Way, also known as Regina viarum, or queen of the roads.
However, archaeologists were unable to locate what they were seeking - the Appian Way's beginning. The Hercules statue was discovered at the road's second-mile marker, but the starting site is unknown to Roman historians.
The excavation for the Appian Way's beginnings discovered relics of a 10th-century Medieval road, lending support to the hypothesis that the Appian Way, or at least a road alongside it, was still in use at the time.
This comes shortly after a fresco showing Hercules, which was originally from Herculaneum, a city devastated along with Pompeii by Mount Vesuvius' eruption in 79 AD, was returned to Italy on Monday, along with 59 other historic items illegally looted by the United States.
Read more: $10m worth of antiques trafficked in the US return to Italy