‘Amazing’ 2,000-year-old Roman building discovered beneath quarry in Switzerland

A massive 2,000-year-old complex containing a trove of ancient Roman artifacts has been discovered beneath a gravel quarry in Switzerland – the first such find in nearly a century.

Archaeologists announced last week that they have been slowly and carefully excavating the remains of what was once an “impressive building complex” that has lain beneath the forest floor in the foothills of the Alps for thousands of years.

The discovery is extremely rare in the country and marks the first time such a large relic has been found in the area in almost a century.

“In the pre-alpine region, unlike other regions, only a few structural remains of this type are known from Roman times. What is also surprising is the relatively good preservation of the remains,” Christa Ebnöther, Professor of Archeology of the Roman Provinces at the University of Bern, said in a statement.

Although the complex has not yet been fully discovered, archaeologists estimate that its walls extend over an area of ​​at least 5,300 square feet and contain several rooms.

The purpose of the monumental building has yet to be discovered, and scientists wonder if it was a temple or simply a villa that offered a view of the impressive mountains and reservoirs that surrounded what would later become the quarry.

Beneath a gravel quarry in the Swiss Alps an “impressive complex of buildings” has been discovered. Photo: ADA Zug, David Jecker

Items discovered so far within the structure are already giving archaeologists insight into the lives of the ancient Romans who inhabited the Swiss Alps around 20 AD.

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Roman tableware, or so-called terra sigillata, and manufactured glass vessels, as well as fragments of gold that probably once belonged to a piece of jewelry, have already been removed from the ruins for preservation.

In addition to copper and bronze coins, a silver coin of Julius Caesar from the 1st century BC was also found. The face of the coin shows an elephant trampling a dragon or a snake.

A coin found in the ruins.A silver coin of Julius Caesar from the 1st century BC was found Photo: ADA Zug, David Jecker
Objects found by scientists. Archaeologists found an amphora base, a fragment of a mortar, the rim of a small bowl of Roman tableware with a red coating, four coins, a fragment of a gold object, pieces of a square bottle, and a fluted bowl of blue glass. .Photo: ADA Zug, David Jecker
Stone walls sticking out above the ground.Archaeologists estimate that the walls extend over an area of ​​at least 5,300 square feet and contain several rooms. Photo: ADA Zug, David Jecker

“Fragments of amphorae, in which, among other things, wine, olive oil and fish sauce arrived from the Mediterranean to Äbnetwald near Cham, testify to the extensive trade in Roman times,” says the Office of Conservation of Monuments and Archeology, he stated in a statement.

“A large number of iron nails speak of a wooden construction on the foundation of the existing wall.”

While valuable relics from various peoples, including remains of a Middle Bronze Age settlement, Late Bronze Age tombs and numerous Celtic-era coins, have been discovered in the area in recent decades, the ruins of ancient Roma are a rare find in the Alps.

The excavation site.Archaeologists have been excavating the building since they first found the ruins in early 2023. Photo: ADA Zug, David Jecker

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Archaeologists have been systematically excavating the stone building since partial remains were first seen poking out of the ground earlier this year.

After close examination, they will remove the walls in favor of a safer interior home for preservation.

Before then, however, the public will be invited to see the ruins and archaeologists in action next week and learn from the professionals what lessons the relics can teach.

“These pieces of the puzzle allow us to trace the lives of our ancestors and better understand our history,” said Karin Artho, head of the Archeology and Monuments Preservation Office.

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Source: vtt.edu.vn

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