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"House of Tarquins" unearthed near Rome

A palace built by the family of Ancient Rome's last tyrant king has been located in an ancient city south of the capital, archaeologists said Thursday.

The apparent opulence of the building, buried in a pile of rubble, has led experts to believe it was the home of the son of Tarquinius Superbus (Tarquin the Proud), the Etruscan seventh king of Rome whose brutal reign made Romans vow never to submit to a monarch again.

Only three small rooms have so far been uncovered but archaeologists hope to find more remains of what must have been a monumental roof and ornate interiors.

The shards of a terracotta roof decoration showing the Minotaur, an emblem of the Tarquins, has already been found, said Rome Tor Vergata University archaeologist Marco Fabbri.

Experts believe the palace was home to Sextus Tarquinius, whose rape of a king's daughter in nearby Ardea helped spark the revolt that toppled his equally unsavoury father.

Aside from its historical value, the site is of "exceptional" archeological importance because similar buildings in Rome and other large cities were demolished to make way for later ones, Bottini observed. The 6th-century BC ruins, brought to light between September and December, in fact contain the highest intact walls of such a date ever found in Italy, at about two metres.

by S. C.
27 february 2010, World News > Italy

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