**A 2000-year-old ‘hologram’ enclosed in a gold jewel **
The ring of Titus Carvilius Gemello was found on the finger of a Roman matron, the noble Aebutia Quarta, in the so-called Flavio-Trajanic tomb – now known as the “Hypogeum of Garlands” – was discovered only in the year 2000 at the Grottaferrata necropolis, near Rome.
The underground chapel contained two marble sarcophagi of excellent workmanship with relief decorations, inscribed with the names of the two deceased: Carvilio Gemello and Aebutia Quarta .
To the great surprise of the archaeologists, when the sarcophagi were open, they found that the bodies were still intact: the embalming they were subjected to allowed an extraordinary state of preservation, so much so that the remains of Carvilio became known as the ‘Mummy of Rome’.
Carvilio’s body was wrapped in a shroud and completely covered with flowers; large garlands in good condition covered the upper half of the body, one of which was placed around the head. His femur was found fractured in two places, moreover, a high percentage of arsenic in the hair was found, so that regarding the circumstances of his death both septicemia due to an injury or a fall from a horse, and poisoning were hypothesized.
Carvilio had died quite young – he was barely 18yo – while his mother Aebutia followed him a few years later, at the age of 40-45.
Aebutia’s body was barely perceptible because it was covered with a vegetal mantle made up of hundreds of small garlands; on the head was placed a well preserved wig, wrapped in a net woven with double fine gold thread ending in a braid.
On her finger was the gold ring, with a cabochon-worked rock crystal bezel, through the convex upper surface of which the bust of a male figure finely executed on a micro-relief sheet is visible.
The luminous effect of the crystal lens gives a mysterious depth to the image of the deceased. It seems that, following the loss of his beloved son, Aebutia presumably had the precious gold ring made to keep his memory alive.
The ring is on display at the Museo Archeologica Nazionale di Palestrina