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The Cave of Lupercal discovered in Rome
November 20th, 2007

The discovery, made early this year as the National Geographic anticipated on january 26th, has been officially announced by the italian Ministry of Culture Francesco Rutelli. In the excavation campaign of the Palatin Hill an underground big chamber has been discovered. The room has been identified as the mithological cave where, according to the legend, Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were nursed by the she-wolf.
"It is an astonishing surprise: while using a small video-probe, we discovered this room 16 meters under the soil investigating the direction to Circus Maximus. This could be the Cave of Lupercal, one of the most famous myths of Rome that was never found" said the Ministry.

"We were drilling the ground near Augustus' residence to survey the foundations of the building when we discovered the cave," said Irene Iacopi, one of the archaeologists in charge of the excavations.
"We knew from ancient reports that the Lupercale shouldn't be far from the Emperor's palace, but we didn't expect to find it. It was a lucky surprise.
"We didn't enter the cave but took some photos with a probe," Iacopi added.
"They show a richly decorated vault encrusted with mosaics and seashells, too rich to be part of a home. That's why we think it could be the ancient sanctuary, but we can't be sure until we find the entrance to the chamber."

© Photo Ministero dei Beni e delle Attivitą Culturali. Uso concesso a corredo della notizia.
Click the image for more pictures.

According to myth, Lupercale cave is where a she-wolf suckled Romulus and Remus, the twin sons of the war god Mars and mortal priestess Rhea Silvia, who had been abandoned in a cradle on the bank of the Tiber River.
The cave's name, in fact, comes from the Latin word for wolf, lupus.
The legend says that the two brothers have founded Rome on April 21, 753 B.C., at the site. But they eventually fought for the leadership of the new city, and Romulus killed his brother.
That didn't stop the site from becoming a sacred place to ancient Romans.
The "Lupercalia" was a religious feast celebrated on February 15th each year, and the latest prohibited by christian authorities.

Full image coverage
Video from SKY News (in italian language)
Original video from the video-probe

Click to enlarge the map


©© 2000-2007 LMB  -  Last Update: 20-nov-2007