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Sinkhole reveals ancient Roman paving slabs outside Pantheon

Rome, May 5 (efe-epa).- A sinkhole that appeared outside the Pantheon in Rome last week has revealed remnants of the original imperial flooring in Piazza della Rotonda.

An area of cobblestones roughly one meter squared collapsed on 27 April, offering a glimpse back in time.

Given the state of emergency amid the coronavirus pandemic, the square was empty of tourists and locals at the time, but the sinkhole, which is two meters deep and has an area of one meter squared, shed light on seven travertine slabs dating back to the second century AD when Emperor Hadrian was in power.

It was not the first time the original pavement was revealed to archaeologists, however. An excavation back in the 1990s confirmed the presence of the imperial flooring before they were covered up once again.

Daniela Porro, superintendent of archaeology in Rome, said: “20 years after their first appearance the ancient paving slabs have re-emerged intact, protected by a layer of pozzolan (volcanic material used for cement).”

In the Roman Age, the square was considerably larger than in the present-day. It was originally laid outside a temple constructed by the Agrippa between 27-25 BC during the reign of Augustus.

The Pantheon we see today, once a temple to Roman gods and now a Catholic Church, was constructed under Hadrian, who ordered the square to be repaved.

The travertine slabs revealed by the sinkhole date to that renovation.

Work to cover up the sinkhole, which occurred just next to the fountain in the square, was undertaken by energy company Acea. EFE-EPA


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