Friday, October 18, 2013

Slave Tunnels Found Under Hadrian’s Villa

Amateur cavers have discovered a network of tunnels underneath the Villa Adriana (Hadrian’s Villa) at Tivoli, near Rome. 

Experts suggest that the subterranean world of tunnels and roads was used to house slaves, oxen, carts and food supplies. The network includes streets wide enough to allow for the passage of carts in both directions as well as narrow passageways. Hadrian’s Villa covers approximately 618 acres but the extent of the underground network is not known yet and excavations are ongoing. 

The Roman Emperor Hadrian built the villa as a summer retreat between 38 AD and 118 AD. After his death in 138 AD, his successors used and enlarged the complex. A decade ago, experts realised that there were tunnels beneath the complex, and a team of Italian archaeo-speleologists led by amateur caver Marco Placidi mapped more than a mile of the vast network this year. 

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