Thursday, January 30, 2014

Archaeologists Unearth What May Be Oldest Roman Temple


Excavation at the Sant'Omobono site in central Rome has provided evidence of early Romans' efforts to transform the landscape of their city.

Archaeologists excavating a site in central Rome say they've uncovered what may be oldest known temple from Roman antiquity.

Along the way, they've also discovered how much the early Romans intervened to shape their urban environment.

And the dig has been particularly challenging because the temple lies below the water table.

The Sant'Omobono excavation team dug a 15-foot reinforced hole below the water line.

At the foot Capitoline Hill in the center of Rome, stands the Medieval Sant'Omobono church.

Today, the Tiber River is about a hundred yards away. But when the city was being created, around the 7th century B.C., it flowed close to where the church now stands, where a bend in the river provided a natural harbor for merchant ships.

"And here they decide to create a temple," says Nic Terrenato, who teaches classical archaeology at the University of Michigan and is co-director of the .

"At this point Rome is trading already as far afield as Cyprus, Lebanon, Egypt," he says. "So they build this temple, which is going to be one of the first things the traders see when they pull into the harbor of Rome."

The temple – the foundations of which are below the water line — was probably dedicated to the goddess Fortuna. The archaeological team discovered large quantities of votive offerings such as miniature versions of drinking vessels, left not by locals but by foreign traders.

In antiquity, Terrenato says, temples built on harbors had the function of fostering mutual trust between locals and traders.

For the rest of the story:  http://www.npr.org/2014/01/29/267819402/archaeologists-unearth-what-may-be-oldest-roman-temple

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...