23 April 2024 The Future is the Product of the Past

A burial complex and an Ancient Dog Statue have been unearthed during excavations in Appio Latino quarter the Rome

Workers laying pipes for utility company Acea at Via Luigi Tosti in Rome’s Appio Latino quarter have unearthed an ancient burial complex.

Archaeologists called in by Acea, the city’s gas and water company, have discovered a funerary complex with tombs dating from between the 1st century BC and the 1st century AD.

An arm of the Italian Ministry of Culture devoted to archaeological endeavors announced the find on January 1, saying that the dog statue was found in the city’s Appio Latino district, which is also home to ancient Roman villas and an array of burial structures. Along with the statue, three tombs were also found.

According to the Ministry of Culture, one of the tombs seemed to contain evidence that a fire had taken place there, which may explain why it fell out of use. The tombs were once part of a larger funerary complex built sometime between the 1st century BCE and the 1st century CE.

Archaeologists were called in after workers laying pipes for utility firm Acea on the Via Luigi Tosti (pictured) in the city's Appio Latino quarter came across the buried tombs.
Archaeologists were called in after workers laying pipes for utility firm Acea on the Via Luigi Tosti (pictured) in the city’s Appio Latino quarter came across the buried tombs.

“Once again, Rome shows important traces of the past in all its urban fabric,” says Daniela Porro, head of the Special Superintendency of Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape of Rome, in a statement, per a translation by the Times.

The dog statue, as well as an urn, were found about half a meter below street level, which means that these archaeological objects were essentially right underneath current-day Romans’ feet. Fashioned out of terra cotta, the statue looks a lot like forms that once appeared as part of drainage systems on sloping rooftops. Because this one has no holes in that water could pass through, however, the statue was likely intended just as a cute canine decoration.

Though the tombs are an important discovery, the well-preserved dog’s head statue has dominated coverage of the finds. The palm-sized artwork shows a pointy-eared canine wearing what appears to be a collar with an emblem and clasping a small object between its paws.

Adjacent to the tombs, the team's excavations also uncovered the remains of a young man who appeared to have been buried in the bare earth. Pictured: an archaeologist carefully excavates the some 2,000-year-old tombs in the Appio Latino quarter of Rome
Adjacent to the tombs, the team’s excavations also uncovered the remains of a young man who appeared to have been buried in the bare earth. Pictured: an archaeologist carefully excavates some 2,000-year-old tombs in the Appio Latino quarter of Rome

Exactly what kind of dog the statue depicts is unclear.

“It could be representative of a large breed or a small, toy breed,” a spokesperson for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals tells the Daily Mail.

The Romans kept dogs as both pets and to guard property and livestock, with one popular breed being the Molossian hound, which came from ancient Greece.

Historians believe that they also kept dogs that would have been similar in appearance to modern Irish wolfhounds, greyhounds, lurchers, Maltese, and more.

Cover photo: Italian Ministry of Culture

Related Articles

Unsolvable Megalithic Mystery of ancient Greek “Dragon Houses”

4 July 2022

4 July 2022

The Dragon Houses of Euboea, which probably dates to the Preclassical period of ancient Greece, are one of the historical...

More than 100 bronze mirrors found at Sakurai Chausuyama burial mound in Japan

3 October 2023

3 October 2023

Archaeologists in Japan have unearthed more than 100 ancient bronze mirrors from the Sakurai Chausuyama burial mound in Sakurai, Nara...

Magnificent Romanesque and Peasant war fury in the lost Kaltenborn monastery near Allstedt

18 August 2023

18 August 2023

From the 12th to the 16th century, the Kaltenborn monastery near Allstedt was a religious, cultural, and economic center of...

An extraordinary medieval belt loop found near Kamień Pomorski in Poland

18 March 2024

18 March 2024

A late medieval belt loop for hanging keys or a bag was found near the town of Kamień Pomorski in...

Anthropologists discovered a bone in the Grotte du Renne cave in France that could indicate the presence of a previously unknown lineage of Homo sapiens

9 August 2023

9 August 2023

A bone discovered in the Grotte du Renne cave in France may represent the existence of a previously unknown lineage...

In Lake Mendota, Wisconsin archaeologists discover the oldest canoe ever found in the Great Lakes region

23 September 2022

23 September 2022

A group of divers from Madison, Wisconsin’s Lake Mendota emerged on Thursday carrying a remarkable piece of history for the...

5000-year-old female figurines found in a Ukrainian cave

15 May 2023

15 May 2023

Archaeologists discovered five clay female figurines hidden inside a hole in a wall in Verteba Cave, in the Borshchiv Region...

An 8,200-year-old temple structure found in Çatalhöyük

6 September 2022

6 September 2022

An 8,200-year-old temple structure was found during the 30th excavation season of the excavations at Çatalhöyük, one of the first...

3600-year-old lead weights were unearthed in the Kumluca Bronze Age Shipwreck, one of the oldest shipwrecks in the world

27 November 2022

27 November 2022

Underwater archaeological work continues in the Bronze Age shipwreck off Antalya Kumluca, one of the oldest shipwrecks in the world....

Archaeologists discovered floor mosaics with early Christian designs in Roman town of Marcianopolis, in Bulgaria

16 January 2024

16 January 2024

Archaeologists discovered floor mosaics with early Christian designs and nearly 800 artifacts in the archaeological reserve of Marcianopolis in Devnya,...

Archaeologists have discovered another exceptional find in Mérida

12 August 2023

12 August 2023

In Mérida, Spain, archaeologists recently discovered an “enormous” Roman bath. But it is that inside these baths, in the area...

History, geography, and evolution are rewrites thanks to an incredible dinosaur trove discovered in Italy

2 December 2021

2 December 2021

A dinosaur trove in Italy rewrites the history, geography, and evolution of the ancient Mediterranean area. Italy is not exactly...

Ancient Yayoi Period Settlement Discovered on Tokyo Condo Development Site

10 December 2023

10 December 2023

Excavations at the former site of the British Embassy in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward have uncovered the remains of a Yayoi...

Türkiye’s Neolithic Settlement Çayönü Hill Discovered New Tombs from Early Bronze Age

4 September 2023

4 September 2023

Archaeologists have unearthed 5 more tombs dating to the Early Bronze Age during the recent excavations on Çayönü Hill in...

The oldest meerschaum artifact found in Anatolia; of Çavlum Seal

18 July 2021

18 July 2021

The stamp seal unearthed during the rescue excavations of Çavlum Village on the Eskişehir Alpu Plain is the oldest meerschaum...