Archive for August 27th, 2009

Gilt Roman horse head found in Germany

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

In a scene straight out ancient Rome’s versions of “The Godfather”, German archaeologists have uncovered the beautifully preserved horse’s head from a Roman equestrian statue.

The life-size statue is gold-plated bronze, and they also found the foot of the rider, thought to be Augustus.

“This bronze sculpture counts among the best pieces to have ever been found from the area of the former Roman empire,” said Eva Kuehne-Hoermann, Hesse’s minister for science, at the unveiling of the head in Frankfurt on Thursday. “Nowhere else is there a finding of this form or quality.”

It dates to 3 or 4 BC, the time when the Roman outpost in the area was founded. Five or so years later, after Rome’s dramatic defeat in the Battle of Teutoburg Forest, German tribesmen dismembered the statue and threw the head in a well.

That turned out to be good news for us, because the water in the well actually helped preserve the head for us to find. Restoration will still take a couple of years, but once it’s done, the pieces will be exhibited in a museum in Hesse.

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