An extraordinary archeological discovery has been made in the suburbs of Naples, Italy – an intact 2,000 year old Roman tomb featuring stunning mythological frescoes.
The buried chamber was uncovered during a routine archaeological survey on farmland in Giugliano, ahead of maintenance work on the city’s water system. This area was known to be rich in ancient Roman ruins, but this find has excited archaeologists.
The tomb’s walls and ceilings display remarkably well-preserved frescoes depicting famous mythological figures and scenes. Most striking is a large fresco of Cerberus – the three-headed guardian dog of the underworld in Greek and Roman mythology. This has led archaeologists to dub the tomb the ‘Tomb of Cerberus’.
The Cerberus fresco shows the 12th labor of Hercules, capturing the monstrous three-headed hound as he descended to the underworld guided by Mercury. Other frescoes show ichthyocentaurs – ancient sea gods with horse and fish bodies. A scene depicts two ichthyocentaurs facing each other holding shields, with winged baby erotes perched on their arms.
This untouched burial chamber was discovered when archaeologists noticed its walls were built with the distinct opus incertum Roman brickwork technique. This extraordinary find offers a vivid glimpse into the mythological beliefs and funerary practices of ancient Romans in the area. The pristine frescoes are considered an incredibly rare and exciting find.