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Remains of fourth century mausoleum discovered during work at Milan metro site


Excavators working on Line 4 of Milan's Metro, between the square in front of the church of San Vittore and the street of the same name, slammed into something that resembled a wall.

Remains of fourth century mausoleum discovered during work at Milan metro site
The wall discovered during the works on the new Milan metro line [Credit: TGCom24]
Archaeologists were called in who concluded that the large compact stone wall dates back to the fourth century, and is probably part of the outer enclosure of the Mausoleum of Emperor Maximian.

The monumental structure once housed the tombs of the family of the emperor-general, who established the capital of the Roman Empire in Milan during the Diocletian period.

Remains of fourth century mausoleum discovered during work at Milan metro site
Reconstruction of the Imperial Mausoleum [Credit: Franscesco Corni]
Studies have shown that the mausoleum was octagonal in shape with side walls at least seven metres long, within which there was also a Christian necropolis.

The fortified walls at the corners had semicircular towers and an imposing entrance, beyond which there were eight semicircular and rectangular niches - the tombs of the Valentinian family - above a floor of decorated bricks.

Remains of fourth century mausoleum discovered during work at Milan metro site
Plan of the octagonal structure and overlying Church and cemetery of San Vittore al Corpo
[Credit: Franscesco Corni]
The M4 offices, which are responsible for the design, construction and management of the metro line, have not leaked any information, while the Milan City Council's Archaeological Heritage Office has indicated that it is surprised by the state of preservation of the enclosure.

"The churchyard of San Vittore is currently the subject of archaeological investigations in preparation for the work of M4," says superintendent Antonella Ranaldi.

Remains of fourth century mausoleum discovered during work at Milan metro site
Ruins of the Imperial Mausoleum under San Vittore al Corpo [Credit: WikiCommons]
"The investigations will now continue to determine whether or not other structures are present, in order to calibrate the construction of the underground line," he added.

"The works for the completion of the M4 line will continue, however, without delay, respecting the delivery terms of the work, set for 2021."

Source: TGCom24 [June 26, 2018]

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