Stunning find: Roman emperor’s marble head found in Egypt

Rome has unveiled the ancient treasures unearthed during the excavations at Via Alessandrina, the small pedestrian street between Trajan’s Markets and Via dei Fori Imperiali.

The restored finds were presented at the Mercati di Traiano museum on 11 December by mayor Virginia Raggi who described Rome as a “precious treasure chest that never ceases to amaze us.”

The recently-concluded excavations made world headlines in May 2019 when archaeologists discovered a well-preserved marble head of Dionysus, embedded in a late mediaeval wall.

The slightly larger-than-life head dates to the imperial age, which corresponds from the first century BC to the fifth century AD, and was intentionally used as building material, a common practice in the Middle Ages.

Archaeologists believe that the head’s hollow eyes were probably filled with glass or precious stones, which date it to the first centuries of the Roman empire.

Dionysus and Augustus

In addition to Dionysus, the excavations yielded another wonderful surprise in September of last year: a 43-cm high head representing Augustus. Archaeologists believe that the statue to which the head belonged exceeded two metres in height.

The head has never been shown in public before today.

Among the roughly 60 finds unveiled include the restored marble bust of a Dacian warrior unearthed below Via Alessandrina in July 2019.

This was believed to have been one of the approximately 60-70 statues of Dacian warriors which once decorated the upper level of Trajan’s Forum, dating back to the beginning of the second century AD.

Archaeologists believe that the statue fell to the floor of the forum, presumably in the second half of the ninth century AD when the oldest structures were demolished to make building material, and there it lay abandoned until last year.

Similar finds of statues of Dacian soldiers were made in Trajan’s Forum in 1998 and 2000, with the statues now on display at the Mercati di Traiano.

Also at today’s presentation was the ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan which donated €1 million towards the excavation, following an agreement reached in 2014 under former mayor Ignazio Marino.

Watch the thrilling moment that the head of Dionysus was uncovered after centuries: