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The Past Unearthed

Mother nature and time have a way of making sure parts of history are never forgotten.

About a month ago a sinkhole opened up in front of the Pantheon in Rome. The normally crowded Piazza della Rotonda was empty when the incident occurred sparing anyone from injury. Sinkholes have become quite common in Italy, with about 30 or more occurring every year. This sinkhole, however, had a hidden surprise inside.

Measuring about 10 square feet around and 8 feet deep the sinkhole revealed travertine tile from about 25 B.C. In a recent interview, Rome special superintendent Daniela Porro stated the stones were probably designed by Emperor Augustus’ friend Marcus Agrippa. Between 118 A.D. and 128 A.D., the Pantheon and surround area was rebuilt. This led to the stones being covered up and forgotten. 

These were not the only ancient paving stones discovered in Italy recently. Upon returning to an archeological site near Venice this past week, team members discovered a perfectly preserved section of mosaic flooring. This flooring was a part of a 3rd-century villa that was previously unearthed in 1922 before being abandoned. 

Though it is unclear what plans are in place for the stones in Rome, team members at the villa site have already begun looking into how to make the site accessible to the public. 

Mayor Roberto Grison told local paper L’Arena, “We believe a site of this value deserves attention. For this reason, we will find a way to make this treasure enjoyable.”

No word yet on when Italy’s borders will be open to travel but hopefully sometime soon these historical discoveries will be accessible to the public. 

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