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Sixth century home unearthed in Rome

Archaeologists in Rome have unearthed a unique home that sheds new light on the ancient city 2,500 years ago.

Sixth century home unearthed in Rome
An ancient domus (not the one pictured) has been found in Rome, shedding new light on the city's early history. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP

The surprise find was made at Palazzo Canevari on the Quirinal Hill, not far from the city's Termini station, a site which was previously believed to have hosted an ancient cemetery, or necropolis, Corriere Della Sera reported.

“It's an exceptional find,” Francesco Prosperetti, the archaeological superintendent of Rome told the newspaper.

“It's one of the most important in the last ten years because it rewrites the history of Rome during the period it was ruled by kings. Scholars were previously debating if the area had been a place of worship filled with temples or a cemetery.” 

The ruins are reportedly in exceptional condition and reveal a large ancient Roman home, or domus, measuring three-and-a-half by ten metres.

The dwelling features a rectangular floor plan, which was divided into two rooms and was probably accessed via a porch.

The home was built on a base of Roman tufa, a volcanic stone that is abundant in central Italy and which was used by ancient engineers to build all kinds of constructions, from homes to the Pantheon.

The dwelling once featured high wooden walls that were covered in clay plaster which were topped by a tile roof. The home would have been a plush crib for a wealthy member of the Roman elite.

This is not the first find to be made at Palazzo Canevari. Formerly the headquarters of the Italian Geological Institute, the building changed hands in 2003 and a series of archaeological surveys were conducted in the area. 

Excavations carried out around the property in 2013 turned up a huge temple built by Roman kings.

Both of the finds date back to the initial period of the city – but definite records of Rome in this era do not exist.

After the latest find archaeologists are hoping the soils of the Eternal city will continue to turn up treasures that can help shed more light on the origins of Rome.  

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ROME

Body of missing American tourist found in Rome’s River Tiber

The body of a missing 21-year-old tourist was found in the River Tiber on Thursday morning, according to media reports.

Body of missing American tourist found in Rome's River Tiber

Elijah Oliphant, from Dallas, Texas, was on holiday with his family in Rome when he went missing several days ago.

Oliphant’s parents reported his disappearance after he left his hotel room shortly after midnight on May 24th and did not return.

Hotel security footage showed him leaving the premises wearing a white undershirt and pyjama bottoms, which he was wearing when he was found.

Oliphant’s corpse was reportedly spotted by passersby near the Ponte Sisto bridge in Rome’s Trastevere district around 10am on Thursday morning. His body was positively identified by his parents.

Members of the fire brigade and river police who recovered the body say there were no obvious signs of violence, but an autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death. Trastevere police are reportedly investigating the matter.

The Oliphant family had arrived in Rome for a holiday on May 23rd. When Elijah went missing the following day, his parents launched an urgent appeal to help find their son.

His disappearance was featured on the missing persons television show, Chi l’ha visto (‘Who’s seen them?’) on May 25th.

Several foreigners have been found drowned in the Tiber in recent years, though there are no indication that any of the incidents are linked.

In 2016, the body of 19-year-old American student Beau Solomon was recovered from the river.

Rough sleeper Massimo Galioto was charged involuntary manslaughter in the case, but was ultimately acquitted in 2020.

Prosecutors said that Galioto pushed Solomon in the course of a violent argument. Galioto’s defense team acknowledged that the two had argued but said the student had accidentally slipped.

In May 2019, 37-year-old Imen Chatbouri, a former athletics champion from Tunisia, was found dead in the Tiber after a night out. CCTV footage later showed she had been pushed from the Ponte Sisto bridge.

A then-26-year-old man whose advances she had rejected earlier that evening was convicted of her murder in November 2021.

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