Italian archeologists have unearthed a white marble head, possibly of a goddess, dating back to the Imperial Age, the Superintendence of Cultural and Archeological Heritage of Rome announced on Friday.
“We have just discovered this beautiful head at the Via Alessandrina dig…truly a great emotion!” the Superintendence tweeted, along with photos of the sculpture — a graceful, larger than life size head with an oval face framed by wavy hair, the Xinhua news agency reported.
The Via Alessandrina was a 400-meter road built by a 16th-century cardinal, who named it after his birthplace, the northern city of Alessandria. A neighbourhood developed around this road, which was demolished during the Fascist regime in the 1920s to make way for what it known today as the Via dei Fori Imperiali (Imperial Forums Road).
The Via Alessandrina area is now a part of the Imperial Forums. It lies between the Forums of Augustus, Nerva, and Trajan, and is one of the active dig sites of the Superintendence of Cultural and Archeological Heritage of Rome.
“Rome surprises us and offers us emotions every day,” Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi wrote on Facebook, posting more photos of the sculpture.
“This morning, archeologists from the cultural heritage superintendence, whom I thank, have discovered…a white marble head dating back to the Imperial Age, in excellent condition. It could represent a goddess…it’s marvelous.”
In an interview with RAI public broadcaster, Rome Archeological Museums Director Claudio Parisi Presicce said the find “surprised us because the head was discovered within a wall that did not have great value in itself, but which shows how historical phases succeeded each other on top of the Imperial Age monuments.”
The layers of construction that followed each other through different times in history “conserved within them the monumental heritage that belongs to the best era of Roman art,” said Parisi Presicce in reference to the Imperial Age of ancient Rome (27 BC-476 AD).
This is why the head discovered was in such good shape, the Director explained.
Parisi Presicce added that the sculpture has been taken to the Imperial Forums Museum, where conservation experts will intervene with “a rapid restoration” before putting it on display for the public to enjoy.