Rome's Past on Display in New Metro Station

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May 14, 2017

A newly completed Roman metro station sports a museum showcasing some of the archaeological treasures unearthed during the station's construction.

Workers had to dig very far down to accommodate building of the station and the rail line leading to and from it, and the workers found more than 40,000 artifacts during their nearly 10 years of construction. The oldest things found are on the bottom level of the station, 100 feet beneath the surface; relatively newer items are on levels closer to the surface. 

Among the artifacts discovered were relatively common items like marble statues, amphorae, gold coins, and perfume bottles. Also on display are a number of 2,000-year-old peach stones and some bronze fish hooks from a very old fish farm.

Dates printed on the station's walls describe key events in the republican and imperial history of the city, all the way up to the end of the Western Roman Empire, in A.D. 476. 

The San Giovanni station, one of 30 stations on Rome's new underground rail line, is ready to open, but the rest of the line is not, so the public will not be able to experience the archaeology museum on a daily basis until the end of the year. The new line will be the Metro C, designed to take some of the load off the existing lines, Metro A and Metro B. Construction on Metro C began more than a decade ago and has been stalled periodically by archaeological discoveries. 

The San Giovanni station is not the only Metro C station to include a museum. The Amba Aradam station will show off remains of a barracks used by the Praetorian Guard, the emperor's personal bodyguards.

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