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Colosseum cleaning reveals ancient frescoes

Restoration work at the Colosseum in Rome has revealed ancient frescoes and graffiti in an internal passageway between the second and third levels.

The frescoes were hidden under decades of calcified rock and grime, and were revealed during a cleaning and restoration project over the last two months. The traces confirmed that while the Colosseum today is a fairly monochrome gray travertine rock, red brick and moss-covered marble, in its day its interior halls were a rich and expensive Technicolor.

“We’re used to thinking that during excavations, archaeological surprises are a risk for builders and for the city’s development,” Rome archaeological heritage superintendent Mariarosaria Barbera said. “But here is a beautiful archaeological surprise … a monument that has been studied and known and appreciated across the world, yet still provides surprises.”

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Story: Nicole Winfield, AP | Photo: AP

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