An ancient Roman statue of Hercules has been discovered during repairs to the sewerage system underneath a park in Rome.
The statue, which apparently dates back to the Roman imperial period (27BC to AD476), emerged from the ground around the second mile mark along the ancient Appian Way, a famed historic road.
The Appia Antica Park announced on Facebook that the area “has reserved a great surprise for us: a life-size marble statue which, due to the presence of the club and the lion’s coat covering its head, we can certainly identify as a figure representing Hercules”.
The discovery was made during repair work on some sewer pipes that had collapsed, causing chasms and landslides. The excavations reached a depth of 20 metres and, as often happens in Rome, were carried out with the presence of archaeologists.
In November last year an “exceptional” trove of bronze statues, preserved for thousands of years by mud and boiling water, was discovered in a network of baths built by the Etruscans in Tuscany.
The 24 partly submerged statues, which date back 2,300 years and have been hailed as the most significant find of their kind in 50 years, include a sleeping ephebe lying next to Hygeia, the goddess of health, who has a snake wrapped around her arm.