Think that 800-piece clown puzzle in your basement might be missing a few pieces? You’ve got nothing on this ancient mystery, as Jane Doh describes.
An unintentional jigsaw puzzle made of marble, over two millennia old, and missing most of its pieces has defied scholars and puzzle-solvers for centuries. Measuring 60 x 43 feet and carved in the 3rd century CE, the Severan Marble Plan of Rome captured the groundplan of Roman architecture in minute detail, even down to staircases, but only 10 to 15 percent of the intricately carved map has been found. Excavations for Rome’s new subway line this year may soon unearth further pieces to the puzzle, according to an article from Discovery News.
Roughly on a scale of 1:240, the Severan Marble Plan consisted of 150 slabs mounted on what was once the interior wall of the Temple of Peace (now the exterior wall of the Church of Saints Cosmas and Damian). During the Middle Ages, the Plan was slowly destroyed, parts of it ground up and repurposed into building materials, pieces broken and re-broken over centuries. Some pieces just fell to the base of the wall and were buried by time. The holes where the slabs were once anchored to the wall are still visible.
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