Well-Preserved Ancient Roman Dog Statue Found During a Construction Project

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Construction in Rome Reveals Well-Preserved, 2,000-Year-Old Dog Statue

by David Kindy/Smithsonianmag.com

Archaeologists excavating an ancient burial complex beneath the Via Latina, one of Rome’s oldest streets, have unearthed a terracotta statue of a dog, three tombs and an intact funerary urn, reports Roma Today. City workers discovered the site, which dates to between the first century B.C.E. and the first century C.E., while laying water pipes in the Appio Latino quarter.

“Once again, Rome shows important traces of the past in all its urban fabric,” says Daniela Porro, head of the Special Superintendency of Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape of Rome, in a statement, per a translation by the London Times’ Philip Willan.

In ancient times, some terracotta statues served as part of the drainage system used on sloping rooftops, containing chiseled holes that allowed water to pass through, notes Alex Greenberger for ARTnews. The clay used to make the newly uncovered dog’s head is similar to the baked ceramic material found in centuries-old gutters and pipes in the region. But this particular figurine doesn’t contain holes, meaning it was probably created as a decorative fixture or gift.

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