Home » Naples, the Tomb of Cerberus discovered: it is 2 thousand years old, but in perfect condition

Naples, the Tomb of Cerberus discovered: it is 2 thousand years old, but in perfect condition

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Naples, the Tomb of Cerberus discovered: it is 2 thousand years old, but in perfect condition

It was taken to the Tomb of Cerberus in the municipality of Giugliano in Campania (Naples). This is an exceptional chamber tomb full of frescoes, inviolate and in a perfect state of conservation, which was found within cultivated land, as part of the work program conducted by Acqua Campania Spa for the «Completion and adaptation of the water supply system of the Flegreo Domitiana area”.

The room has the ceiling and walls frescoed with mythological scenes, Ichthyocentaurs holding a clypeus on the front wall, festoons that go all around the funerary chamber, and figurative representations among which a three-headed dog stands out, hence the conventional name of the mausoleum as the Tomb of Cerberus. Three painted klìnai, an altar with vessels for libations, the inhumed still placed on the funeral beds with rich objects, complete the picture of a discovery which, in this area, is unprecedented. Thanks to surface reconnaissance, during the preliminary archaeological investigations prescribed by the Superintendence for the Metropolitan Area of ​​Naples, which led to the recognition of a dispersion of material from the historical era, and to an intuition of Dr. Simona Formola, official responsible for the territory, an excavation test was positioned precisely in correspondence with the area which proved to be full of burials, with different rites (both inhumation and incineration), which testify to the long use of the area for funerary purposes, with more levels of attendance, over a chronological period of at least four centuries, from the Republican age to the Roman imperial one.

Almost as a delimitation of the necropolis area, the crest of a wall in opus incerta, very well built, turned out to be the front of a monumental chamber tomb, with the entrance still well sealed by the original closing tuff slab , just notched on the top to create an opening and evidently allow access in a subsequent phase of use of the mausoleum, finally well closed with tiles. The area of ​​the necropolis is significantly located in a crucial point of the ager Campanus, near known centurial axes, and equidistant from the ancient road axes of the via Cumis-Capuam and the via per Liternum. In particular, from a first analysis of the context, it seems that the area could gravitate into the cultural and political sphere of the latter.

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«The investigations and documentation activities continue unabated», assures the Superintendence. The spectacle that presented itself to the eyes of the superintendent Mariano Nuzzo, the first to access the burial chamber, after removing the closing tiles, was that of a moment crystallized in the past of over 2000 years ago. «The emotion aroused by the privilege of such a discovery is indescribable – commented Nuzzo – The work that keeps the Superintendency engaged in its tireless protection actions and the passion lavished by archaeologists in the field have finally received worthy recognition today. Heartfelt thanks also go to the Carabinieri of the Protection Unit who constantly and with great energy support us in our work and who, in this particular case, prove to be an indispensable resource to guarantee the safety of the area. The territory of Giugliano, after years of oblivion, is finally returning significant vestiges of its glorious past, to be preserved and protected, thanks to a common effort.”

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