The Roman villa discovered under a vineyard


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Have you ever wondered what it is under your feet? While you are likely on a floor in your home right now or on a sidewalk in the street, do you know what lies below that? No matter what country you are in there was a life before these cities and towns were built and there may be remains from a forgotten time laying underneath you. Recently a dig in a vineyard in Italy revealed something extraordinary. 

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In Italy, close to the city of Verona, above the small town of Negar di Valpolicella, in a rugged hilly area, there lies a small vineyard. While you can expect an Italian vineyard to produce delicious wines you could not expect it to produce ancient treasures. Yet this vineyard is like no other. In 1922, the owners of the vineyard discovered a small number of mosaic tiles when they were digging some of the lands. At that time there was no funding to uncover the vineyard so it was forgotten. 

One hundred years later and excavators have visited the vineyard to finally unearth the treasure that lies below. While the vineyard produces high-quality wine that fetches an expensive price, historians believe what lies below has far more value. The dig started last summer but had to be paused because of the coronavirus pandemic. It recently started again and it has unearthed something incredibly beautiful. 

After removing a number of rows of vines the archaeologists have found a mosaic floor that appears to be part of an old Roman villa. The villa appears to date back to around the fourth century AD and is, therefore, an ancient treasure that must be protected and unearthed with great care. While Italy has a wealth of ancient treasures it is impossible to know what the next discovery will produce and what piece of the jigsaw it will complete.

This is not the only discovery of recent times. Only last month a sinkhole emerged in Rome outside the Pantheon temple. It unveiled some ancient slabs of stone that date all the way back to 27 BC. This is further evidence of the incredible history that lies beneath our feet. 

To be fair, if you are sitting in a small town in the USA or New Zealand you may scoff at the idea that incredible history lies beneath your feet. These are countries that are relatively ‘new’ and so don’t share the same elaborate history as those in Europe. Italy, in particular, has a wealth of ancient infrastructure thanks to the incredible inventions and innovations of the Romans. Yet even in the Americas and Australasia where it took Europeans a little longer to conquer, there were tribes there before that built many things and artifacts fill museums today. While you may not find an ancient Roman villa on the East coast of the USA you could find an incredible Native American settlement.

At times we forget that the world we have built and the lives we lead are on top of worlds that once existed and of times long forgotten. This discovery in the hills of Italy shows that there can be the most incredible findings in the most surprising of places. The farmer who was digging his land 100 years ago never expected to find a Roman villa underneath and in the coming weeks, there will likely be another person who puts a spade in the ground and hits something they didn’t expect. If you want that person to be you then to have a chance you have to grab a spade. So many discoveries take place every day that you can always be surprised by what is buried in your back yard.