Ornate marble head found in Rome’s Piazza Augusto Imperatore

August 9, 2023

Archaeologists have uncovered the head from a marble statue during excavations in Rome’s Piazza Augusto Imperatore near the corner of Via di Ripetta along the Tiber.

Construction workers have unearthed a white marble head in the historic center of Rome, the city’s mayor has revealed on social media.

Ancient white marble head, possibly of Aphrodite, unearthed in Italy's Rome
Ancient white marble head, possibly of Aphrodite, unearthed in Italy’s Rome. Image Credit: Sovrintendenza Via Twitter | Fair Use.

The impressive piece, which is thought to be part of a statue of a female divinity, was discovered in a foundation uncovered during the works for the redevelopment of the Mausoleum of Augustus and Piazza Augusto Imperatore.

On Thursday July 06, Roberto Gualtieri, the Mayor of Rome, posted a photo of a mud-covered relic on Twitter with the caption: “#Roma continues to return precious evidence of its past: a splendid intact marble head was found during the works in Piazza Augusto Imperatore attended by the @Sovrintendenza.”

 

Archaeologists and restorers are currently occupied with the task of cleaning and researching the recent discovery, according to Gualtieri. The Capitoline Superintendence is responsible for looking after, taking care of, and developing Rome’s historical and archaeological legacy.

A remarkable piece, suspected to have been part of a statue of a female deity, was uncovered during the “redevelopment of the Mausoleum of Augustus and Piazza Augusto Imperatore,” as stated in a statement released by the Rome city council. The head was found on the eastern side of the area under construction.

The Superintendence archaeologists were credited with the unearthing of the relic according to the statement, with the hope that this finding will aid experts in developing a greater comprehension of the city’s past.

According to Capitoline Superintendent Claudio Parisi Presicce, the head recently discovered is skillfully carved in Greek marble and is likely to have been part of a larger statue of a female divinity, such as Aphrodite, with realistic proportions. The head features an elegantly arranged hairstyle, secured by a ‘tenia,’ a ribbon tied at the crown.

It was revealed by him that the head was exhumed in the foundation of a late antique wall, in a complete state. Parisi Presicce revealed that the head had been utilized as a construction material. It was located lying face down and sheltered by a clay bank which served as the foundation of the wall.

The superintendent asserted that it is not at all unexpected to uncover a relic in this condition. He said that “the reuse of works sculptures, even of significant value, was a very common practice in the late Middle Ages, which allowed, as in this case, the successful preservation of important works of art.”

The head was carved in Greek marble.
The head was carved in Greek marble. Image Credit: Sovrintendenza Via Twitter | Fair Use.

Parisi Presicce suggested that the object in question likely dates back to the Augustan era. Consequently, conservators and archaeologists are hoping to restore it, as well as figure out the item’s subject and age.