Vast palace of Rome's first kings discovered
By Peter Popham
February 15th, 2005
|Ancient Rome has yielded its deepest secret - one that coincides with the legend of the city's foundation. Seven metres under the ruins of imperial Rome's Forum, Professor Andrea Carandini has discovered the remains of an immense building, covering 345 square metres, which he believes to be the palace of Rome's first kings.
He has dated a section of flooring near by to 753BC - when, according to legend, the city was founded by Romulus on seven hills. Until now, historians have maintained that Rome's history could not be traced further back than the 4th or 5th century BC.
Professor Carandini's discovery, trailed in Il Messaggero newspaper, will be unveiled at a conference in Florence at the weekend. He will reveal that the centrepiece of the palace was an enormous banquet hall with walls of wood and clay and a tiled roof decorated with fine ceramics. "This palace endured at least until AD64, in other words for eight centuries," Professor Carandini said.
With the end of the Roman monarchy it became the abode of the Rex Sacrorum, the sacred king, surviving until the first empire.
The archaeologist also claims to have identified the house of the vestal virgins, the priestesses who attended the Roman kings, and the fireplace where they tended the sacred fire.
The Forum in Rome
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