Recently, underwater restoration and enhancement work was completed on a Roman-era structure discovered in the locality of Campo di Mare, Cerveteri (north of Lazio in Italy).

In 2021, the area had already been the scene of the discovery of a Cipollino marble column with its Ionic capital, linked to a circular structure about 50 meters in diameter that is completely underwater, a few meters from the coast.

Experts believe it to be a maritime pavilion belonging to a Roman villa, whose extent and complexity are yet to be uncovered.

One of the walls of the structure.
One of the walls of the structure. Credit: Soprintendenza Archeologia Belle Arti Paesaggio Etruria Meridionale

According to the Superintendency, the difficult marine conditions characterized by constant waves did not prevent the teams from thoroughly documenting the remains, which suffer from continuous coastal erosion.

The structure features a double belt of brick walls, separated by about 3 meters and founded on a layer of clay. This base has allowed the preservation of the wooden formwork and numerous foundation posts.

The walls, of notable thickness, are constructed with a double layer of triangular bricks containing pebbles and mortar, connected by bipedal bricks, reflecting an advanced and resilient construction technique.

Another view of the submerged structure
Another view of the submerged structure. Credit: Soprintendenza Archeologia Belle Arti Paesaggio Etruria Meridionale

The structure preserves opus signinum coatings and opus spicatum pavements. In the center, fragments of opus sectile pavement were found, indicating the richness and elegance of the construction.

These elements suggest that the pavilion was a representative and luxurious part of a Roman villa now buried under the sand, strategically located near the ancient route of the Via Aurelia.

The project was carried out by the Underwater Archaeology Service of the Superintendency, with support from the company CSR Restauro Beni Culturali for the cleaning and restoration of the structures.

Walls of the submerged structure
Walls of the submerged structure. Credit: Soprintendenza Archeologia Belle Arti Paesaggio Etruria Meridionale

The Diving Unit of the Naval Station of Civitavecchia of the Guardia di Finanza provided assistance during the operations, while the Municipality of Cerveteri and the Port Authority of Civitavecchia facilitated the interdiction of the work areas.

This first step towards understanding and protecting these remains is just the beginning. Future geophysical surveys are planned in collaboration with the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) to ensure the preservation and detailed study of this valuable archaeological heritage.



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