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Roman temple discovered in central Italian region of Lazio


An extraordinary discovery redefines the entire history of a territory that today is known as Itri and the entire surrounding area. Long years of study, sacrifices and volunteer work have brought to light a huge staircase dating back to Roman times, at least four centuries before Christ, which measures 16 metres in length and 7 metres in height, and the torso of a statue, all probably part of a temple - perhaps dedicated to Hercules - and therefore part of a much larger Roman public area.

Roman temple discovered in central Italian region of Lazio
Credit: H25TV
The first partial discovery was made by archaeologist Marisa de Spagnolis seven years ago, when she was still in charge of the Tiberius Museum in Sperlonga. Seven years later, Dr. De Spagnolis has returned to the private property of the Ialongo family together with the archaeological association Itri and a group of volunteers to bring to light a site of rare grandeur and importance, rich in inscriptions, clues that lead one to believe that the area is in fact much larger.

Roman temple discovered in central Italian region of Lazio
Credit: H25TV
"The excavation", says an announcement from the Itri association, "allowed us to document the presence of a sanctuary area probably dedicated to Hercules, founded at the end of the fourth century BC and remodelled in the second century BC. Inscriptions have been found on some of the steps, which have given us the names of the family who took care of the shrine: Gens Allia."

Roman temple discovered in central Italian region of Lazio
Credit: H25TV
Following the clearing of vegetation carried out by the municipality of Itri, blocks of limestone were seen that were part of a collapsed structure. Among the blocks found, several had inscriptions referring to activities carried out in the sanctuary.

Roman temple discovered in central Italian region of Lazio
Credit: H25TV
Among the blocks of limestone collected in May 2018 was a headless marble male torso wearing a toga, preserved to a height of only 0.70 metres. The incomplete sculpture of the lower part of the body and right arm is depicted wearing a tunic with the toga above it, animated by thin folds that descend from the left shoulder towards the side and cover the left arm, which is bent at right angles.

Roman temple discovered in central Italian region of Lazio
Credit: H25TV
The torso dates to the Augustan-Tiberian era and is perhaps linked to another fragmentary sculpture, also wearing a toga, found in 2011 at the same site and transported to the museum in Sperlonga.

Now, thanks to the generosity of the Ialongo family, who have already shown their willingness to donate the land to the Municipality of Itri, the archaeologists wait for the property transfer to be finalised, after wich they hope to gain funding from the Superintendence in order to complete the excavations.

Source: H25TV [June 14, 2018]

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