Imagine finding a marble head of Rome’s first emperor while you’re doing renovations! Well, construction workers in Isernia, Italy, were surprised to find a long-lost portrait of Augustus, who ruled as the first Roman emperor from 27 B.C. to until his death in 14 A.D. The marble bust has remained relatively intact, as the Smithsonian details:
Speaking with isNews, superintendent Dora Catalano and archaeologist Maria Diletta Colombo, both of whom are overseeing the new project, said that some locals had proposed supporting the historic walls with concrete pillars.
“We highlighted that the solution was not feasible, not in the least because the piling would have risked destroying the foundation of the walls and any traces of ancient presence in the area,” the pair explained, per Google Translate.
“Yes, it is really him, the emperor Augustus, found today during the excavation,” writes the Archaeological Superintendency of Molise in the statement, per a translation by ARTNews’ Claire Selvin. “Because behind the walls of a city [lies] its history, which cannot be pierced with a concrete [pillar].”
Per a separate report from isNews, Mayor Giacomo D’Apollonio announced that the rare artifact will remain in Isernia and eventually go on display in the nearby Museum of Santa Maria Delle Monache.
Image via the Smithsonian