breaking news

Cat discovers 2,000-year-old Roman catacomb

October 19th, 2012 | by heritagedaily
Cat discovers 2,000-year-old Roman catacomb
Archaeology News
1

Via di Pietralata : Google Maps

Rome may not exactly be short of catacombs, but one discovered this week is more deserving of the name than the city’s countless other subterranean burial chambers. For Mirko Curti stumbled into a 2,000-year-old tomb piled with bones while chasing a wayward moggy yards from his apartment building.


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Cat discovers 2,000-year-old Roman catacomb” was written by Tom Kington in Rome, for theguardian.com on Thursday 18th October 2012 13.52 UTC

Rome may not exactly be short of catacombs, but one discovered this week is more deserving of the name than the city’s countless other subterranean burial chambers. For Mirko Curti stumbled into a 2,000-year-old tomb piled with bones while chasing a wayward moggy yards from his apartment building.

Curti and a friend were following the cat at 10pm on Tuesday when it scampered towards a low tufa rock cliff close to his home near Via di Pietralata in a residential area of the city. "The cat managed to get into a grotto and we followed the sound of its miaowing," he said.

Inside the small opening in the cliff the two men found themselves surrounded by niches dug into the rock similar to those used by the Romans to hold funeral urns, while what appeared to be human bones littered the floor.

Archaeologists called to the scene said the tomb probably dated from between the 1st century BC and the 2nd century AD. Given that niches were used to store ashes in urns, the bones had probably tumbled into the tomb from a separate burial space higher up inside the cliff.

Heavy rains at the start of the week had probably caused rocks concealing the entrance to the tomb to crumble, they added.

Soft tufa rock has often been used for digging tombs over the centuries in Italy, but its softness means that ancient sites are today threatened by the elements. The cliffs near Via di Pietralata have also been extensively quarried.

Romans are often underwhelmed and sometimes irritated to find they are living on top of priceless remains. Shoppers arriving at the Ikea store on the outskirts of Rome leave their cars alongside a stretch of Roman road unearthed in the car park, while fans queueing to enter the city’s rugby stadium need to skirt around archaeologists excavating the Roman necropolis that stretches under the pitch. At the concert hall complex next door, halls had to be squeezed around an unearthed Roman villa.

But Curti said he was nonetheless amazed to wander into a tomb so close to his house, calling it "the most incredible experience" of his life.

<a href="http://oas.theguardian.com/RealMedia/ads/click_nx.ads/guardianapis.com/world/oas.html/@Bottom" rel="nofollow"> <img src="http://oas.theguardian.com/RealMedia/ads/adstream_nx.ads/guardianapis.com/world/oas.html/@Bottom" alt="Ads by The Guardian" /> </a>

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

Published via the Guardian News Feed plugin for WordPress.

© Copyright 2012 HeritageDaily - Heritage & Archaeology News
Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Reddit0Share on TumblrShare on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Digg thisShare on StumbleUpon0Email this to someonePrint this page

  • http://techglobex.blogspot.com TechGlobeX

    Nice article and i must appreciate your effort for delivering such a great article. Thanks and keep it up and i have bookmarked your blog url.

    Regards,
    Ben Williams