Republican-Era Domus Discovered in Rome

News December 14, 2023

Rome House Mosaic
(Italy's Ministry of Culture)
Rome House Mosaic

ROME, ITALY—According to a Wanted in Rome report, a luxurious dwelling built in three phases between the second half of the second century and end of the first century B.C. has been uncovered in an area between Rome’s Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum. Italy’s Culture Minister Gennaro Sangiuliano said that a late-second-century B.C. mosaic made up of pieces of shells, marble, and glass has been found in the home, thought to have been owned by a nobleman who was probably a senator. It shows a sequence of scenes, one of which depicts three large ships heading toward a walled coastal city. Another scene shows weapons with Celtic-type trumpets, warships, and tridents. Researchers think that the mosaic could reflect the owner of the dwelling’s victories in battles on both land and sea. The structure, set around an atrium, was likely to have been several stories tall. Lead pipes set in the walls of the grotto-like banquet room would have been used to produce entertaining water effects. The walls of the adjoining reception room were covered with high-quality white stucco. “We will work intensely to make this place, among the most evocative of ancient Rome, accessible to the public as soon as possible,” said Alfonsina Russo, director of the Colosseum Archaeological Park. To read about the ruins of the emperor Nero's private theater that were recently uncovered near the Vatican, go to "The Fiddler's Theater," one of ARCHAEOLOGY's Top 10 Discoveries of 2023.

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