Digging for Rome's new subway has unearthed the charred ruins of an early 3rd-century building and the 1,800-year-old skeleton of a crouching dog that apparently perished in the same blaze that collapsed the structure. Archaeologists on Monday said they made the discovery on May 23 while examining a 33-foot-deep hole bored near the ancient Aurelian Walls as part of construction work for the Metro C line. "A Pompeii-like scene" was how the Culture Ministry described the findings. The dog's skeleton, found at the door of the house, indicates a crouched position and suggests the animal became trapped in the building when it caught fire. Experts say the ruins might be from an aristocrat's home at the foot of the nearby Celian Hill or from a nearby military barracks.
One of the reasons Rome has such a limited subway system for a metropolis is that construction of an underground transport line inevitably reveals layers of what had been buried slices of life from one of the ancient world's most important capitals, reports the AP. In this dig, items found included a leg of a stool or table; a small table; a larger table; a wooden railing or handrail; frescoed wall fragments with a reddish hue; and black-and-white mosaic floor tiles on the upper story of the collapsed building. The archaeologists say the fire hardened the artifacts, giving them a quality of preservation that is rarely found. "For the moment, the discovery of a charred, wooden ceiling represents a unique event for the city of Rome," the ministry says. (Read more discoveries stories.)