A series of significant discoveries has recently been revealed during ongoing archaeological excavations at the site of the ancient Roman city of Claternae, located in the municipality of Ozzano dell’Emilia in the Emilia-Romagna region, about 15 kilometers southeast of Bologna.

Last Tuesday, an event was held where the Undersecretary of State for the Ministry of Culture of Italy, Lucia Borgonzoni, the Superintendent of Bologna, Francesca Tomba, and the Mayor of Ozzano dell’Emilia, Luca Lelli, presented the new findings to representatives of the media and the scientific community.

During her address, Borgonzoni expressed the Ministry’s satisfaction with the progress made: We are facing the largest unstratified archaeological area in northern Italy. In terms of importance and the quantity of findings unearthed so far, we can probably speak of a Pompeii of the North.

The materials recovered in the recent excavations demonstrate that Claternae was much more than a mere transitional city. Among the most notable finds are inscriptions and fragments of colored marbles that were part of architectural cladding, areas of the forum and its streets, domus with polychrome mosaics, baths, and numerous structures such as the theater.

Also found were 3,000 coins and 50 gems dedicated to deities. However, the most relevant piece was a silver coin from the Roman Republic, specifically a silver quinarius (a coin created in 211 B.C., alongside the denarius and sestertius, valued at half a denarius), dated to 97 B.C., discovered in one of the access corridors to the theater.

This unique discovery allows for a precise dating of the theater’s construction to the late 1st century B.C. and implies the existence of close commercial and political ties between Claternae and Rome.

However, as Superintendent Tomba noted, these new findings represent only a small sample of the great potential still hidden beneath the ruins of the ancient city. So far, archaeological excavation efforts have covered only about a tenth of the total site area, which spans approximately 18 hectares.

Given that most of the territory remains unexplored, there is the expectation that future work may reveal structures and objects that provide a deeper understanding of the urban organization, economy, and customs of the ancient inhabitants of Claternae.

In this regard, Undersecretary Borgonzoni announced the Italian government’s commitment to allocate new funds for the continuation of excavations, the consolidation and restoration of the discovered remains, as well as the adaptation of the theater to restore its original function as a venue for performances.

The ultimate goal is to fully safeguard this exceptional site and make it available for historical research and cultural dissemination, transforming it into an attractive archaeological complex accessible to researchers and visitors from around the world.


Sources

Ministero della Cultura (Ministry of Culture of Italy)


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