Hundreds of antiquities to be displayed in Rome’s forum

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Some artifacts are displayed in showcases custom-made by archaeologist Giacomo Boni, whose excavations in the first years of the 20th century revealed dozens of tombs, including many of children. Some of the tombs dated from as far back as the 10 century B.C., centuries before the construction of the Roman Forum, the center of the city’s political and commercial life, when the city’s inhabitants dwelt in a swampy expanse near the River Tiber.

In one display case is the largely intact skeleton of a man who was a good 1.6 meters tall (about 5-foot-4 inches), on the taller side for his time, in the 10th century B.C. He was buried with some kind of belt, whose bronze clasp survived. Found in his tomb and on display are a scattering of grains, remnants of funeral rites. Layers of mud, formed in Rome’s early days, helped preserve the remains.

The director of the Colosseum’s Archaeological Park said staff were working to make an inventory of artifacts kept in more than 100 storerooms, whose contents up to now have been accessible to academics but few others.

The pieces, today on display at the Forum, were part of the myriads of findings still kept in the Colosseum storehouse that is not open to the public.
Visitors to the Roman Forum, Colosseum or Palatine Hill can view the antiquities.Tiziana Fabi / AFP – Getty Images

“We want in some way to make objects come to light that otherwise would be invisible to the great public,″ Alfonsina Russo, the director, told The Associated Press.

“We’re talking of objects that tell a story, not a big story, but a daily story, a story of daily life,″ Russo said.

Every Friday through July, visitors can admire the antiquities pulled out of the storerooms during 90-minute guided tours. The “tabernae” are small exhibition spaces, so only eight visitors can enter during each tour. Reservations are required, and visitors must buy an entrance ticket to the archaeological park. Park officials indicated they hope the initiative can be extended or renewed.

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