‘Archaeological Enigma’ Discovered by Chance in Rome Could Be One of City’s Earliest Churches

‘Archaeological Enigma’ Discovered by Chance in Rome Could Be One of City’s Earliest Churches

The floor of the perplexing ancient building was built using colored marbles from North Africa. Photo: Rome’s Archaeological Superintendency

Mysterious ruins containing an elaborately patterned floor built with colored marbles from North Africa have been discovered in Italy’s capital Rome perplexing the archaeologists.

The decorated floor in particular has led the researchers to come up with several hypotheses, one of the being that the ruins in question are from one of Rome’s earliest churches, reports The Local Italy.

The mystery ruins have been discovered at the Ponte Milvio bridge on the Tiber River in the northern part of the city of Rome.

The discovery of the ancient ruins has occurred by accident when electrical technicians laying cables on the spot uncovered the remains from the buildings dating to the period between the 1st and the 4th century AD.

“[The discovery] is an archaeological enigma shrouded in mystery," Rome’s Archaeological Superintendency said.

While some of the ruins appear to have originally been a warehouse, the truly mysterious part for the archaeologists is an older building on a higher level.

The building’s floors and walls were built using colored marbles from North Africa. This fact has led to a hypothesis that the venue served an important purpose for a noble Ancient Roman family, or for the local community.

The fact that it is located close to a necropolis, an Ancient Roman cemetery, has given grounds for hypothesizing that the venue might have been an ancient religious site, possibly one of Rome’s first Early Christian churches.

This hypothesis is being considered even though the Italian archaeologists have found no signs of an altar or religious decorations.

Rome’s Archaeological Superintendency has made it clear it is looking into the hypotheses that the remains belonged to “a Roman villa or a Christian place of worship”.

The mysterious archaeological site now found in Rome. Photo: Rome’s Archaeological Superintendency

Construction or maintenance workers in Italy’s capital Rome, the birthplace of the Roman Empire, often stumble upon ancient ruins.

Such accidental finds, for example, delayed a number of times work on Rome’s Metro line C, with the discoveries including the city’s oldest aqueduct.

Also recently, construction works on a new church led to the discovery of an Ancient Roman bath house and Roman tombs.

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