Underfunded Italian archaeologists have discovered a vaulted chamber on Rome’s Palatine Hill that they believe may be the grotto worshipped as the site where Romulus and Remus suckled the she-wolf. The AP article explains that Italian archaeologists are extremely short of funds, and may have trouble fully excavating their new finds, which are part of the area around Augustus’ palace. I find this very profound, because Palatine Hill is ground zero for the birth of the Art Market, where Popes started digging up statuary in the 15th Century and began art collecting as we know it.
But they did so at the expense of scientific archaeology, which Winklemann only invented 3 centuries later, while working as Prefect of Antiquities for the Vatican studying this very same ground. And he began to point out that if they excavated with an eye towards understanding the ensemble, and not just extracting the art objects, then, well, we’d be a lot farther along towards understanding the Classical World. It’s also quite exciting because just across town, a woman who was considered a leading light in the pursuit of scientific/art historical knowledge is now being tried as “Tomb Raider” True, the Getty’s Top Shopper for plundered loot. So right now, there’s just no better place than Rome to ponder the eternal battle between Archaeology and the Art Market.
Rome’s Palatine Hill shows new treasures [Yahoo/AP]