The mayor of Rome has announced on social media that a white marble head has been discovered by construction workers in the historical center of the city. In a Twitter post accompanied by a photo of the mud-covered relic, Mayor Roberto Gualtieri stated that Rome continues to unveil valuable remnants of its past. The intact marble head was found during excavation works in Piazza Augusto Imperatore under the supervision of the Capitoline Superintendence.
Gualtieri mentioned that archaeologists and restorers are currently engaged in the task of cleaning and examining the artifact. The head, believed to be a fragment of a statue representing a female deity, was found in a foundation within the ongoing redevelopment area of the Mausoleum of Augustus and Piazza Augusto Imperatore. The Rome city council released a statement confirming the discovery on the eastern side of the construction site.
The statement credited the vigilant efforts of the archaeologists for unearthing the relic, expressing hopes that it would contribute to a deeper understanding of the city’s ancient history. Superintendent Claudio Parisi Presicce described the recently found head as a finely crafted piece sculpted in Greek marble, likely depicting a natural-sized figure of a female divinity, possibly Aphrodite.
The head showcases an elegant hairstyle with hair gathered at the back and secured with a ribbon knot called a “tenia” on top of the head. Parisi Presicce revealed that the intact head was discovered in the foundation of a late antique wall, where it had been repurposed as a construction material. It was found face down, protected by a clay bank supporting the wall’s foundation.
While the discovery may appear surprising, the superintendent explained that it was not uncommon for artworks, even of significant value, to be reused in the late Middle Ages, facilitating the preservation of important pieces. Parisi Presicce stated that the head likely dates back to the Augustan era and that conservators and archaeologists will work on restoring it and determining its subject and age.