Officials in Rome will this week open up to the public a necropolis hidden for 2000 years beneath the Vatican. The ancient burial site was discovered in 2003. It dates back to the rule of the first Roman emperor Augustus, who ruled between 23 B.C to 14 A.D, and took 400 years to build.
“Such an undamaged site emerging after 2000 years is a very important discovery,” said the director of Vatican Museums, Francesco Buranelli. “It offers us a complete cross-section of the Roman society in the imperial age. The rich, the poor, the freed slaves.”
The necropolis was discovered during work to build an underground carpark at the Vatican. Archaeologists say upper class Romans had been laid to rest alongside workers from the middle and lower classes, and the objects buried with them have provided more clues about life at the time.