CAIRO – 9 November 2022: Archaeologists in Italy describe the discovery of more than two dozen bronze statues preserved in the muddy waters of Tuscany as "very significant" and "exceptional" for their age and condition.
The statues were found in the town of San Casciano dei Bagni in Siena, in the ruins of an ancient Roman bath.
The artifacts were found covered with nearly 6000 bronze, silver and gold coins that helped preserve them. Archaeologists, who have been exploring the area since 2019, have discovered several other smaller statues along with coins and bronze artwork, according to Art News Paper.
Italian Culture Minister Gennaro Sangiuliano called it an "extraordinary find", while Massimo Osanna, a senior culture ministry official, compared its significance to when full-size ancient bronze rheas were snatched from Greek warriors from the sea off the southern tip of Italy five decades ago.
“It is a discovery that will rewrite history and is already staffed by more than 60 experts from all over the world,” Jacopo Taboli, associate professor at the University of Foreigners in Siena, said in a press release.
According to Taboli, who orchestrated the discovery, the ancient statues depict Hygieia, Apollo, and other Greco-Roman deities, who were used to decorate a sanctuary before immersing themselves in their rituals in the thermal waters. Most of the statues are believed to date from the second century BC. and the first century AD, when ancient Tuscany switched from Etruscan rule to Roman rule.
After the discovery, Italy's culture ministry said the statues had been moved to the Central Institute of Restoration, in the nearby city of Grosseto, for study and further work. It will eventually be displayed in a new museum in San Casciano, funded by the Italian Ministry of Culture, located about 10 miles southwest of Florence.