Sunday, June 01, 2008

Elaborate Pagan Tomb Under Vatican Opened

It's in every Sunday paper (here's a link to the CBS story). A mausoleum built by a family of slaves for the (presumably) patrician Valeri family during the 2nd century A.D. has been restored and is now open for public viewing -- by appointment.

Apparently there are 22 such tombs, and this is the most elaborate. They were covered up by Emperor Constantine in the 4th century so that a Christian basilica could be built over St. Peter's grave site.

Two really interesting oddities that aren't explained in the AP story: There are some charcoal inscriptions on the walls that were left alone and may point to the actual location of St. Peter's bones. AND the family of slaves were freed and "amassed a vast fortune."

If I weren't so lazy (and if the Stonehenge special weren't starting on NG TV) I'd look for more info. Those points are intriguing!

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