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Monumental pool complex found in outskirts of Rome


A monumental pool over 40 metres in length and dating back to the 4th century BC has been found in Rome, at the crossroads of the Via Ostiense and the Via di Malafede.


Monumental pool complex found in outskirts of Rome
Monumental pool complex dating to the 4th century BC [Credit: Fabio Caricchia,
Soprintendenza speciale di Roma Archeologia Belle Arti e Paesaggio]



The discovery took place during the preparatory excavations conducted by the Soprintendenza Speciale di Roma for the realization of a residential and commercial complex. The remains of other buildings and constructions were also discovered in the area, covering an area of about two hectares of land, with findings that extend chronologically over the course of eight centuries.


Monumental pool complex found in outskirts of Rome
View of pool basin [Credit: Fabio Caricchia, Soprintendenza speciale
 di Roma Archeologia Belle Arti e Paesaggio]

Special Superintendent Daniela Porro explained: "This is a discovery that renews our astonishment of ancient Rome and the infinite stories it has yet to tell. Facing such a discovery has also left our archaeologists amazed. It is a rich and complex context, a testimony of how much Rome, even outside its urban boundaries, still has to give and reveal to its inhabitants. Another success of preventative archaeology, essential in order to preserve our past and to protect and enhance otherwise unexplored territories."


Monumental pool complex found in outskirts of Rome
Ancient structure in the complex [Credit: Fabio Caricchia, Soprintendenza
speciale di Roma Archeologia Belle Arti e Paesaggio]



According to Barbara Rossi, head of archaeological research at the Special Superintendency in Rome, "the excavation tells us about an important place that was alive for more than eight centuries, as shown by the quantity and above all the quality of the buildings found, as well as the monumental 4th century BC pool, excavated to its full extent. The study of the great quantity of materials that this research has brought back and continues to bring back - wood, terracotta, metal objects, inscriptions - will reveal the secrets of this extraordinary corner of the territory of Rome."


Monumental pool complex found in outskirts of Rome
Inclined ramp connecting to pool to ancient street level [Credit: Fabio Caricchia,
Soprintendenza speciale di Roma Archeologia Belle Arti e Paesaggio]

"The area includes the Malafede canal, which has been inhabited since prehistoric times and has been navigable inland for centuries. With the excavations still underway, what has emerged to date is the articulated stratification of buildings and constructions from the 5th century BC to the 3rd century AD, in which are the remains of tufa blocks of a large building, fragments of painted terracotta, including a winged victory holding a crown and a small sacellum with an internal altar, a portico and an aqueduct."


Monumental pool complex found in outskirts of Rome
Tufa walls [Credit: Fabio Caricchia, Soprintendenza speciale
di Roma Archeologia Belle Arti e Paesaggio]



"But it is the great monumental pool of the 4th century BC, more than 40 metres in length and 12 metres in width and almost two metres in depth, equipped with tufa retaining walls and a ramp, that is the great protagonist of the excavations. The function of this monumental unpaved construction, which may have been part of a system of water management, a large reservoir or settling tank, is still being investigated."


Monumental pool complex found in outskirts of Rome
Various finds discovered at the site [Credit: Riccardo De Luca, Agf]

"Fragments of wood, one with an inscription in the Etruscan alphabet, and long beams appeared in the muddy bed of the pool. It will take time to prove the thesis that this is a probable shipyard, even though we have not found any channel and we cannot excavate any more, being right next to the Via Ostiense," said to Rossi.


Source: La Brujula Verde [trsl. TANN, September 10, 2020]



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