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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Rome's New Metro "Archaeological Station" - "Archeo-Stazione" - its newest and best free museum

Travelers in the San Giovanni metro station amidst artifacts from ancient Rome.
Everyone agrees Rome's 21st-century infrastructure is deteriorating to a new low - piles of garbage in the street, holes in the asphalt big enough to close streets and kill motorists, buses catching on fire, tram brakes sabotaged, parks unkempt, trees falling on cars.  And yet, one can enter a Metro station and be in a first-class archaeological museum that opened this May.

Under this very ordinary Metro entrance
lies an incredible museum.
The expansion of Rome's Metro system to a third (!) line, the C line, resulted, as almost all excavation in Rome does, in the discovery of layers of ancient artifacts.  In this case, the discoveries at the connection of the C line to the A line at the busy hub of San Giovanni in Laterano held up the inauguration of that station by a couple years and in the process opened a window into centuries of Roman life.
Artifacts discovered under the station at this level (more photos below).
Because the station was so deep, archaeologists had the chance to reach depths they don't normally work in. As a result, they used the depth of the station to provide a timeline.  As one descends into the basic 3 levels of the station, the panels on the walls and the artifacts reveal the time lines at those depths.  It's a clever way of showing human, and pre-human, history.
At the top, times for the next trains arriving.  On the wall, an indication that we are 14 and 15 meters (45-50 feet) below current Rome and in the "Middle Imperial Age--third century AD."
Also noted is the year 216, when construction began on the Baths of Caracalla.
One of the most interesting discoveries was of a 1st-century BC water system, on a farm it appears, with pipes made from used and broken amphorae.
A 1st-century BC plumbing system (more photos at the end
of the post)

The station, which opened May 18, has been an enormous hit primarily with Romans.  It may take time for tourists to catch onto this - in reality - marvelous free or low-cost museum.
A central hub - travelers going through the station, and video displays on the right.
The first level is before the Metro turnstiles and thus is free.  But for a 1.50 euro ticket, anyone can travel down to the other levels of the station. The free level has very good videos, in both Italian and English.  The second level is the most rich in artifacts.

The escalator going to the bottom level takes one down through time.
On the right it says "Republican age" and then "Proto-historic age."

The lowest level does not have artifacts, but has pictures on the
walls of the kind of life that existed on earth (in Rome)
at this level of feet below the current level of Rome.

A Roman delighting in her 'find.'
Pipes from the 1st century BC plumbing system
(and Bill's hand and camera reflecting in the glass)
The discovery of broken amphorae used to create a pipe
in the plumbing system.

An end piece from the side of a Roman house.

Amazingly enough, the remains of a wooden basket--
1st-2nd century BC.

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