A2,000-year-old marble head of Augustus, Rome’s first emperor, has been discovered in Isernia, an Italian town in the south central region of Molise.
Archaeologist Francesco Giancola made the exceptional discovery during restoration works to repair a medieval wall that collapsed due to strong rains in 2013.
Giancola was following the works on behalf of the municipality of Isernia, but told CNN Thursday he didn’t expect such a major find.
“While we were digging behind the wall, I saw that the earth changed color,” he said.
“So we continued digging with precision trowels and a block of marble has come out. I immediately saw that it was a head that I recognized as belonging to a statue of Augustus due to the hair and the shape and cut of the eyes.”
Giancola said he immediately called the authorities, the mayor, and the cultural heritage ministry.
The 35-centimeter (13.78-inch) high head can be dated to between 20 BC and 10 AD, according to Maria Diletta Colombo, an archaeologist at the regional department of the ministry.
“It was an important statue, but we do not know why it was here,” she told CNN. “It could have been placed in a temple dedicated to the cult of the imperial family, or in the forum. But these are just hypotheses, since we don’t know where the forum was.
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SOURCE: CNN, Livia Borghese and Eoin McSweeney