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Huge water cistern found at the ‘Villa of Augustus’ near Nola


A water cistern 30 metres long and 10 metres wide has been unearthed at the so-called ‘Villa of Augustus’ located at Somma Vesuviana near Nola, where tradition holds that Emperor Augustus died on the 19th of August in AD 14.

Huge water cistern found at the ‘Villa of Augustus’ near Nola
The Villa of Augustus at Somma Vesuviana, Naples [Credit: Apolline Project]
The huge cistern, covered with two walkways, was employed to collect water from the nearby mountains and is a unique finding in the region which lends further support for the importance of the Villa according to archaeologist Antonio De Simone.

Huge water cistern found at the ‘Villa of Augustus’ near Nola
View of the newly found cistern at the Villa of Augustus [Credit: Apolline Project]
The cistern evidently supplied water to nearby farmland cultivated in the 4th century when the villa served as a large farmhouse until its destruction in 492 AD with the devastating eruption of Vesuvius. The interesting discovery will shed light on the villa’s past and the political, economic and social crisis of the Roman Empire in the 4th century.

Huge water cistern found at the ‘Villa of Augustus’ near Nola
Archaeologists working at a storage area at the Villa of Augustus [Credit: Apolline Project]
The discoveries were announced by professors Antonio De Simone of Benincasa University in Naples and Masanori Aoyagi from the University of Tokyo in what is the 14th year of excavation at the ‘Villa of Augustus’.


The villa was discovered in the 1930's when a 12 metre long arched colonnade was revealed. The villa's walls are adorned with impressive frescoes, like the ‘Nereids and Tritons fresco’, and elegant statues, like the young Dionysus with panther, that stood in its numerous alcoves.

The exceptionally rich findings, the huge dimensions of the villa, the period in which was built (1st cent. AD), and its proximity to Nola are associated with Tacitus’ reference in the ‘Annales’ to the villa ‘apud urbem Nolam’ where Augustus is said to have died.

Source: Il Mattino [October 04, 2016]
TANN

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