Archaeologists in the city of Rome rejoiced to a marvellous find as an exquisite marble head of an ancient goddess, possibly Aphrodite, was unearthed during redevelopment works at an urban square.
Preliminary examinations date the ancient work of art to the Augustan Age (63 b.C. to 14 A.D.), the municipality of Rome announced following a social media post by mayor Roberto Gualtieri on Thursday.
“Rome continues to restore precious evidence of its past,”Gualtieri captioned the photo of the find.
Aphrodite’s head carved in Greek marble
The splendid marble head was discovered during the works for the redevelopment of Rome’s Mausoleum of Augustus and the Piazza Augusto Imperatore, on the eastern side of the area under intervention.
The Superintendency of Rome -the public body in charge of managing, maintaining, and evaluating the archaeological, historical-artistic and monumental heritage of the Italian capital– said that the find was a life-sized sculpture carved in Greek marble.
#Roma continua a restituire preziose testimonianze del suo passato: una splendida testa in marmo integra è stata ritrovata durante i lavori a Piazza Augusto Imperatore curati dalla @Sovrintendenza. Archeologi e restauratori sono impegnati nella pulitura e nello studio del reperto pic.twitter.com/9EAYIj4pRb
— Roberto Gualtieri (@gualtierieurope) July 6, 2023
The refined hairstyle of the goddess, gathered at the back with a “taenia”, a ribbon knotted on the top of the head, is indicative of the elegant workmanship of the sculptor.
“Thanks to the careful work of the archaeologists of the Superintendency, we are able to deepen the knowledge of a part of the city that amazes [us] with the richness of its thousand-year history,” commented Capitoline Superintendent Claudio Parisi Presicce.
Precious discovery salvaged from under wall
An image posted on Twitter by the Superintendancy of Rome showed how the beautiful ancient sculpture was discovered face down in the foundations of a wall believed to have been built in late antiquity.
Nonetheless, the marble head survived intact.
The work of art was probably part of rubble reused as building material, and was protected from damage through the centuries thanks to the clay bank on which the foundation of the wall rests.
The reuse of sculptures, even of significant value, was a very common practice in the late Middle Ages, which allowed, as in this case, the successful preservation of important works of art, Parisi Presicce described.
The precious find is currently entrusted to restoration experts for cleaning, and to archaeologists for further study which will allow the accurate identification and an initial dating proposal, “which appears to be anchored in the Augustan era,” the official concluded.