Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Nice den for a wolf

Last January I wrote about the possible discovery of the Lupercale, the cave and cult site in ancient Rome where Romulus and Remus were said to have been raised by a wolf. Today, stunning pictures of the mosaics on the grotto ceiling were released by the Italian Ministry of Culture.

So far, no one has entered the sanctuary; all of examinations have been conducted with endoscopes and laser scanners. Much of the grotto is filled with earth and rubble and the original entrance has not yet been located. Irene Iacopi, the archaeologist in charge of the Palatine Hill where the grotto is located, says the team hopes to locate the entrance in new explorations next spring. But even if they do find it, they might not be able to excavate the entrance if it is covered by other valuable ruins. The hill is the oldest part of Rome and hosts, among other things, Rome's first huts from the eighth century BC, a medieval fortress, Renaissance villas, and the Emperor Augustus' palace. These picture might be the closest any of us will get to seeing the site for many years to come.

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