Tradies have unearthed a “splendid, intact” marble head during works in the historic center of Rome.
The city’s mayor Roberto Gualtieri shared details of the incredible find, along with a photo, on Twitter.
“#Roma continues to return precious evidence of its past: a splendid intact marble head was found during the works in Piazza Augusto Imperatore supervised by @Sovrintendenza,” he wrote, referring to the organization that manages, maintains and enhances the capital’s historic and archaeological heritage.
“Archaeologists and restorers are busy cleaning and studying the find.”
Capitoline superintendent Claudio Parisi Presicce explained the newly found head of “elegant workmanship” is likely to belong to a female divinity, perhaps Aphrodite.
“It shows a refined hairstyle of hair gathered at the back thanks to a ‘taenia’, a ribbon knotted on the top of the head,” he said in a statement.
The head, carved in Greek marble, was found intact in the foundation of a late antique wall, on the eastern side of the piazza that is currently being worked on.
“Reused as building material it lay face down, protected by a clay bank on which the foundation of the wall rests,” Mr Parisi Presicce continued.
He said the reuse of sculptural works 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 is currently entrusted to restorers for cleaning, and to archaeologists for correct identification and a first dating proposal, which appears to be anchored in the Augustan era.”