A "life-sized" marble statue of Hercules was recently unearthed in Italy amid ongoing repairs to the sewage system in Rome, authorities have revealed, APA reports citing Sputnik.
The statue dates back to the Imperial period of Rome, roughly between 27 BC and 476 AD. Crews were excavating the area to repair a sewer pipe that had collapsed under a park in Rome, which was causing mudslides and fissures in the ground.
The excavation, which reached a depth of around 65 feet in some areas, was observed by archeologists, a common practice in Rome. Experts were able to confirm the statue represented Hercules because of “the club and the lion’s coat covering [the statue’s] head.”
But they say the statue was not discovered in the area the ancient Romans likely displayed it. Instead, they believe the statue was buried there during the construction of the sewer system in the first half of the 20th century.
“At the time there were no archaeological checks, so it could happen,” Francesca Romana Paolillo, a member of Italy’s Ministry of Culture, told local media. She says it is unlikely the statue actually represents the mythological figure and instead showcases a person dressed as Hercules.
The statue was found along the Appian Way, an ancient road that runs from Rome to the southeastern region of Italy. The road was critical to Rome’s conquest of Southern Italy and was used to transport military supplies. Italy is currently trying to get the road designated as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.