An ancient statue made of marble was discovered deep in Italy’s Lake Nemi recently. Experts believe that this statue might have been part of a ship constructed by the Roman Emperor Caligula around two thousand years ago.
This ancient artifact was found when workers were cleaning the lake as part of their regular duties under the supervision of the Municipal Civil Protection of Nemi. It has been handed over to specialists for careful examination.
The city authorities have not yet provided specific information about the statue, such as its age. However, it’s understandable that people from outside are speculating about its historical importance.
Mysterious discovery at Lake Nemi, a marble head, a find that could have great historical interest. According to the first hypotheses formulated by the experts, the find could be connected to the legendary ships of Caligula, the famous Roman emperor.https://t.co/nMCmfxDDAV pic.twitter.com/VYCYbkU1zL
— Tiziana Matarazzo (@tiziana_archeo) June 27, 2023
Significance of Lake Nemi
Lake Nemi, which is situated just south of Rome, is renowned as a remarkable location for underwater archaeology. In the 1st century AD, two great ships commissioned by Caligula sank there, leaving behind a wealth of remains like wooden structures, tar-covered fabric, marble objects, beautiful mosaics, and other artifacts.
For many years, local residents were aware of the presence of sunken ships in the lake. However, it was not until the late 1920s and ’30s, under the orders of Benito Mussolini, that the lakes were drained and the ships were finally removed.
The director in charge at that time decided to display the remains of these vessels in a museum. Unfortunately, during a bombing raid in World War II, the museum was destroyed by fire.
Since then, artifacts from these ships have been continuously discovered in the lake. One particular item of interest is a mosaic that was originally designed for use as a dance floor. Surprisingly, after spending 45 years serving as a coffee table in an apartment in New York City, this mosaic was eventually returned to Italy in 2021.
Purpose of the commissioned ships
The specific purpose of the two ships commissioned by Caligula remains a mystery, much like many other aspects of his reign. Some theories suggest that they might have held religious significance, considering that Lake Nemi was once considered a sacred place.
Both ships were incredibly elaborate, but one of them was believed to be particularly extravagant. It was essentially a floating palace adorned with luxurious features such as silk sails, fountains, and even bathrooms equipped with plumbing systems.
Archaeologists Found an Ancient Marble Bust That May Have Belonged to Caligula at the Bottom of an Italian Lake pic.twitter.com/fyRZQt84nv
— Val Hayden 𐌅𐌀𐌋᛫𐌇𐌀𐌝𐌃𐌄𐌍 (@IIIMCMIII) July 1, 2023
As for the recently discovered marble bust, it is still uncertain whether it served as one of the decorative elements on this remarkable ship.
Alberto Bertucci, the mayor of Nemi, expressed his optimism regarding this discovery. In an interview, he expressed his hopes that this finding would provide new insights into the history of Caligula and contribute to a better understanding of his legacy.
Mayor Bertucci also expressed a desire for the secrets hidden in the depths of Lake Nemi to be unveiled once again.