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Archaeologists unveil possible shrine to Rome’s first king

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ROME: Archaeologists said on Friday (Feb 21) they had discovered an ancient cenotaph that almost certainly commemorated the legendary founder of Rome, Romulus, buried in the heart of the Italian capital.

The small chamber containing a simple sarcophagus and round stone block was originally found at the start of the last century beneath the Capitoline Hill inside the old Roman forum.

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However, officials say the significance of the find has only just become clear following fresh excavations and new research.

Alfonsina Russo, the head of the Colosseum Archaeological Park, said the site probably dated back to the sixth century BC, and was located in the most ancient part of the city which was directly linked in historical texts to Rome's first king.

"This area is highly symbolic. This surely cannot be Romulus' tomb, but it is a place of memory, a cenotaph," Russo told Reuters TV.

The shrine is buried beneath the entrance to the Curia, one of the meeting places for Roman senators which was subsequently converted into a church – a move that protected it from being dismantled for its stones as happened to other forum buildings.

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The underground chamber was also located close to the "Lapis Niger", an antique slab of marble that was venerated by Romans and covered a stone column that was dedicated to "the King" and appeared to curse anyone who thought to disturb it.

Russo said the Roman poet Horace and ancient Roman historian Marcus Terentius Varro had related that Romulus was buried behind the "rostra" – a tribune where speakers addressed the crowd in the forum.Read More – Source

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