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Rome's underground secrets revealed

07-04-2011 09:02 BJT

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Hidden beneath the modern city of Rome lies layer upon layer of ancient history. Now, thanks to remote robots and 3D images, underground Rome is being revealed to the public for the first time.

The Eternal City has been built, layer upon layer, like a giant onion over the course of 3,000 years.

For 5 Euros, places like the Circus Maximus Mithraeum, can now be visited by simply calling Rome's City Hall for a private tour. The Circus Maximus Mithraeum dates back to the 3rd century A.D. and was only discovered in the 1930s. It lies 14 meters (46 feet) beneath the warehouse of an opera company.

Francesca Fumian, visitor, said, "The feeling is always new and different. You discover worlds that you would have never imagined. Maybe you walk the street above dozens of times every month, and you don't know all this lies beneath."

Hidden beneath the modern city of Rome lies layer upon layer of ancient history.

The newly opened sites are just a small fraction of the capital's underground secrets - miles of ancient corridors and passageways that are yet to be mapped out. To open up subterranean sites, first you need to find them.

The underground is often unstable and unsafe. So, where most archaeologists don't dare to venture, volunteer cavers do the dirty work.

Adriano Morabito is the founder of the "Underground Rome Association." He has been climbing down wells and crawling through aqueducts for the past 10 years to map out the marvels of ancient Roman engineering. What began as hobby for a handful of adventurous volunteers has grown into a non-profit organization using the latest precision technology.

Hidden beneath the modern city of Rome lies layer upon layer of ancient history.

Adriano Morabito said, "Rome's biggest museum is probably the one underground, the one that hasn't yet been discovered. So there's so much to learn from what's underground, in order to be able to better understand what's above it."

Morabito reports his findings to Rome's Archaeology and Heritage Office.

The ground level of Rome has been steadily rising over 3,000 years, in some places up to 60 feet. Floods, earthquakes, fires or enemy occupation were the main reasons for reconstruction. The debris would be levelled off, filled in and a new building would be erected.

It costs Rome millions of Euros to maintain all the sites that are currently open.

Hidden beneath the modern city of Rome lies layer upon layer of ancient history.



Editor:Liu Fang |Source: CNTV.CN

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