Saturday, November 24, 2007

Friday Archaeology Blogging
Slightly Less Late Edition.

Some time ago, we did a post on the discovery of Lupercale, the cave wherein the ancient Romans believed that Romulus and Remus had been nursed by a she-wolf. Well, we finally have pictures!

As you can see, the mosaic decorations in the cave are extremely elaborate, as would befit a place with that type of ritual significance. However, wait a second:

Italian expert skeptical of sacred Roman cave
Sat Nov 24, 2007 12:47am IST
By Silvia Aloisi

ROME (Reuters) - A leading Italian archaeologist said Friday that the grotto whose discovery was announced this week in Rome is not the sacred cave linked to the myth of the city's foundation by Romulus and Remus.

Now, archaeologists disagreeing is not really news, and some extremely reputable archaeologists (Andrea Carandini among them), have opined that the cave is in fact Lupercale, so I would hesitate to leap in and claim that this fellow has a point. Furthermore, he bases his argument against the identification of the cave as Lupercale largely on the writings of Dionysius of Halicarnassus, a first-century B.C. historian who may be interpreted as having situated the Lupercale elsewhere on the Palatine Hill. While Dionysius has a decent reputation as a historian, it's always a bit dodgy to base archaeological hypotheses ancient written sources. So, it will be interesting to see how this all plays out! In the meantime, we'll look at the pretty mosaics...

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