Archaeologists Unearth What May Be Oldest Roman Temple

Excavation at the Sant'Omobono site in central Rome has provided evidence of early Romans' efforts to transform the landscape of their city.
Archaeologists excavating a site in central Rome say they’ve uncovered what may be oldest known temple from Roman antiquity. Along the way, they’ve also discovered how much the early Romans intervened to shape their urban environment. And the dig has been particularly challenging because the temple lies below the water table.  At the foot Capitoline Hill in the center of Rome, stands the Medieval Sant’Omobono church. Today, the Tiber River is about a hundred yards away. But when the city was being created, around the 7th century B.C., it flowed close to where the church now stands, where a bend in the river provided a natural harbor for merchant ships. “And here they decide to create a temple,” says Nic Terrenato, who teaches classical archaeology at the University of Michigan and is co-director of the Sant’Omobono excavation project. “At this point Rome is trading already as far afield as Cyprus, Lebanon, Egypt,” he says. “So they build this temple, which is going to be one of the first things the traders see when they pull into the harbor of Rome.” More
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