24 perfectly preserved bronze statues from the ancient Roman era were discovered in Tuscany by Italian archaeologists.
The statues were found in San Casciano Dei Bagni, a hilltop village in the province of Siena, about 160 kilometers (100 miles) north of the capital Rome, beneath the filthy ruins of an ancient bathhouse.
The statues, which depict Hygieia, Apollo, and other Greco-Roman deities, are estimated to be 2,300 years old.
The find, according to one expert, “may change history.”
The majority of the statues, along with about 6,000 bronze, silver, and gold coins, date from the second century BC to the first century AD. They were discovered submerged beneath the baths. The transition from Etruscan to Roman authority was marked by a time of “great transformation in ancient Tuscany,” according to the Italian Ministry of Culture.
The dig’s director, assistant professor Jacopo Tabolli from the University for Foreigners in Siena, hypothesized that the statues had been submerged in thermal waters as part of some sort of rite. He said, “You give to the water because you want to get something back from the water.”
Before being displayed in a new museum in San Casciano, the statues, which were saved by the water, will be transported to a restoration facility in the adjacent city of Grosseto.
The finding, according to Massimo Osanna, director general of Italy’s national museums, is “probably one of the most significant bronze finds ever made in the history of the ancient Mediterranean.” It is the most significant since the Riace Bronzes. The 1972-found Riace Bronzes show a pair of historical soldiers. They are thought to have existed between 460 and 450 BC.