Archaeologists Find Sealed Tomb From Days of Jesus With Surprisingly Well-Preserved Artwork Inside
Archaeologists have unearthed a 2,000-year-old tomb in Italy that contains immaculately preserved artwork that dates back to when Jesus walked the Earth.
The incredible discovery was made during archeological surveys in the small city of Giugliano in Campania, just a stone’s throw from Naples. Deep inside the tomb, researchers found ancient paintings plastered on the walls. According to the Italian Ministry of Culture, the artwork appears to depict scenes from ancient mythological stories.
Murals Depicting Ancient Greek Mythology Were Discovered
One stunning painting clearly depicts a three headed dog, which researchers have likened to a creature from Greek mythology known as Cerberus.
The painting was created by a skilled artist and has been perfectly preserved for centuries. According to legend, the creature has been considered “the hound of Hades.” Greek mythology states that Cerberus loyally guarded the gates to the underworld. Due to this discovery, the tomb has been dubbed the “Tomb of Cerberus.”
The Artwork Is Incredibly Intricate
Another mural shows a well-known character from Greek mythology called ichthyocentaurs.
These sea beasts have a unique physical appearance that blends various aspects of three different beings. Ichthyocentaurs have the “upper body of a human, the lower body of a horse, and the tail of a fish.” This particular painting shows two ichthyocentaurs facing each other while jointly holding a shield. Two cupid characters are also seen on each side of the unique creatures.
The Italian Ministry of Culture Is Mystified by the Discovery
Researchers were astounded by how the ancient artwork has been incredibly maintained after so much time had passed.
In a statement released by Mariano Nuzzo, the Italian Ministry of Culture’s superintendent of Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape, the organization expressed sincere amazement at the discovery. “The emotion aroused by the privilege of such a discovery is indescribable. The work that keeps the superintendency engaged in its tireless protection actions and the passion shown by archaeologists in the field have finally received worthy recognition today,” it said.
Ancient Tombs Were Often Expansive and Decorated
The statement continued by saying, “The territory of Giugliano, after years of oblivion, is finally returning significant vestiges of its glorious past, to be preserved and protected, thanks to a common effort.”
Tombs from centuries ago were often elaborately decorated and exquisitely adorned with artwork and objects from that time. The level of the tomb’s decor depended on the person being buried. If a noble or high-ranking individual was being laid to rest, their multi-room tomb would be ornamented to show their importance.
Archaeologists Aren’t Done Excavating the Site
For now, it remains unclear who was buried in the 2,000-year-old tomb, but archaeologists are still digging through the area to gather as much historical insight as they can.
The ancient Romans subscribed to various aspects of Greek mythology, which explains the significance of the ancient Greek figures painted on the tomb’s walls. Concepts and ideals depicted in Greek mythology often served as inspiration for artworks and other creations that have been discovered from 2,000 years ago.
Other Artifacts Were Also Discovered
In addition to the ancient artwork, researchers also unearthed “three pieces of Roman lounging furniture” and “an altar with drinking vessels.”
Other burial objects were also located within the tomb. Valentina Russo, an archaeologist who was part of the team that uncovered the Italian tomb, couldn’t hold back her excitement when discussing the incredible find. “The excitement was enormous…Finding something like this doesn’t happen every day,” she said.
What Makes the Tomb so Special?
The newly-discovered Italian tomb is a rare find because it appears to be untouched.
The tomb’s existence was unknown until now, and all of the frescoes within the tomb have managed to withstand the test of time. Paintings dating back 2,000 years look as good as new. The ceilings and walls of the tomb have been adorned with the detailed paintings, and the ties to Greek mythology offer insight into what people believed so many years ago.
How Was the Tomb Found?
Prior to the discovery of the Tomb of Cerberus, researchers have found several burial sites in the vicinity that date back to 510-31 BC, also known as the Roman Republic era.
Other tombs located in the area are believed to be from 31 BC-AD 476, also known as the Roman Imperial Age. The Tomb of Cerberus was found after archaeologists noticed that a wall had used an ancient Roman construction method called “opus incertum.” Upon further digging, they came to realize that they were looking at the front entrance of the tomb.
The Condition of the Ancient Tomb Was Ideal
The tomb had been sealed shut for centuries with a heavy slab made from a mixture of heavy rocks and volcanic ash. Archaeologists had to meticulously remove tiles that covered the ceiling in order to gain access to the tomb.
Going into further detail about the immaculate tomb, Nuzzo said, “The tomb has frescoed ceilings and walls in perfect condition, with mythological scenes that go all around the room and figurative representations among which, a three-headed dog stands out.”
The Burial Tomb Is an ‘Unprecedented’ Find
The Italian Ministry of Culture’s superintendent of Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape understands the importance of the Tomb of Cerberus.
He has even described the pristinely preserved tomb’s discovery as “unprecedented.” Archaeologists have dedicated countless hours to researching the area for as many ancient finds as they can possibly acquire. Still, there is much more to understand about the 2,000-year-old burial ground.
Archaeologists Still Can’t Believe It
Simona Formola, who was one of the archaeologists on site when the tomb was discovered, took to Instagram to share her joy about the amazing new find.
In an Instagram post, she wrote, “Just 15 days ago I was walking along a wall in uncertain work that I never imagined could be the front of a freshened up tomb, revolted and in perfect preserved state!” She further described the tomb as “an exceptional discovery.”
There Is Much More to Learn About the Tomb’s History
Researchers are eager to continue excavating the area in hopes of finding more ancient artifacts and works of art from the days of Jesus.
The remarkable unearthing of the Tomb of Cerberus showed researchers that other tombs just like it have also been buried beneath the surface for thousands of years. Archaeologists will work diligently to determine if other tombs are located nearby while also further investigating what lies within this ancient Italian tomb.