Ancient Hercules Statue Uncovered In A Roman Sewer Has Archaeologists Unraveling Its Strange History

It was just another day in Rome when a team of workers were fixing up a damaged sewage system. It was a routine job, but when you’re working in a city with as much history as Rome, there’s always a chance that you’ll come across something remarkable. And that’s exactly what happened here, after something unusual caught one of the workers’ attention. This sewer was hiding something truly fascinating — but it wasn’t your regular historical discovery.

A historic setting

Maybe this chance discovery shouldn’t have been too surprising, given the location of this sewer. It was found on a stretch of the Appian Way, a famous road that now lies beneath an area of modern Rome called Scott Park. Much like the rest of the city, it’s a historic place with a big story to tell of its past. But even so, this particular find would leave people scratching their heads.

A seemingly ordinary job

The workers were called out to this historic spot in order to fix a sewer — not to go hunting for treasure — where an old pipe had deteriorated quite badly, so something needed to be done about it. On January 25, 2023, several months into their work, the team spotted something out of the ordinary poking out of the soil about 10 meters down. And it definitely wasn’t part of a sewer.

Stopping in their tracks

It was lucky that the project’s archaeologist had his wits about him, or else the discovery could easily have been lost. The find was made while a bulldozer was doing its thing, clearing earth and old tubing. Fortunately, before any real damage could be done, someone suddenly called for a pause in the works. They had noticed what appeared to be a face lying in the ground.

Important symbolism

Work immediately ground to a halt. At first, the team might have thought they had uncovered a body, given its shape and size. What it actually was, though, was a life-sized statue. And notably, the statue was wearing a headdress made from lion skin. The symbolism of this would be clear to anyone with knowledge of ancient Roman myths: this was surely a statue of Hercules.