The National Roman Museum preserves, in the deposits of the Baths of Diocletian , the rich funerary objects from the large necropolises of Castel di Decima and Laurentina, which date back to the 8th and 7th centuries. BC For two years, a systematic work of safeguard, inventory, restoration and study of this unique heritage has been underway, which allows us to characterize in a very precise way the society, economy and culture of Lazio at the time of the foundation of Rome and in the subsequent decades. The "Urbs, from the city to the Roman countryside" program of the National Plan for Complementary Investments to the PNRR provides for a restoration and preparation of the upper gallery of the great cloister of Michelangelo, which will be dedicated to the presentation of the first centuries of history of Rome. One of the four wings of this gallery will be dedicated to the 8th-7th century. BC and then to the necropolises of Castel di Decima and Laurentina.
The partnership between the National Roman Museum, the Central Institute of Restoration and the 'Paola Droghetti Foundation for a culture of art conservation' has made it possible to recover one of the most important funerary objects from the necropolis of Castel di Decima. This is that of tomb 359, discovered in 1991, taken from a large piece of earth and locked up in a museum warehouse, inside a wooden box, until 2021.
The Paola Droghetti foundation financed a scholarship for a young restorer trained at the Central Institute of Restoration, who carried out the excavation and restoration of the tomb, under the guidance of the restorers and archaeologists of the National Roman Museum. This sponsorship also made it possible to publish a monograph on the tomb and produce a video that recounts the rediscovery, restoration and study.
The restoration and study have made it possible to bring to light the tomb of a young woman who died between the ages of 18 and 24, around 730 BC. It can therefore be said that the deceased in question was born precisely at the time of the foundation of Rome, according to the traditional date transmitted by ancient sources.
The woman was buried with a dress covered in jewels: a necklace of bronze pendants in the shape of animals and human figures, a series of large rings fixed to the dress with bronze and amber fibulae, silver ornaments for hair, etc. It was accompanied by a banquet service with knives for sacrifice, skewers for cooking meat, bronze and ceramic vases for the consumption of wine. Alongside the productions of Rome and the Latium Vetus, we can recognize Etruscan objects from the area of Tarquinia and Greek and oriental inspired vases of Campania origin. Amber comes from the Baltic Sea. This exceptional context contributes to rebuilding the first exchange networks developed by Rome already at the time of the foundation of the city.
The exhibition aims to present the results of the restoration and research, also through various other important finds preserved in the deposits of the National Roman Museum. It will be open throughout summer 2023.