Subscribe to Archaeology

New Golden House Room

Rome, Italy

January/February 2020

Top Ten Italy Domus Aurea FrescoA small crack in a vaulted ceiling led archaeologists to a new room of the Domus Aurea, or “Golden House,” the immense pleasure palace built by the emperor Nero after a fire devastated Rome in A.D. 64. After Nero’s death, the Domus Aurea was seen as the emperor’s folly, and the structure’s interior was completely filled in. A public park for all Romans to enjoy was built on top. It was not until the fifteenth century that, quite by accident, the vast property was rediscovered. Since then, the Domus Aurea has been the site of exploration, excavation—and nearly constant restoration. During one such restoration project, archaeologists found the new room, which is covered in frescoes. “It was very emotional for us to find a previously unknown room, or maybe one that we had lost track of,” says archaeologist Alessandro d’Alessio of the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage. The frescoes depict a centaur and other mythological figures, a whistle-like instrument, decorative plants, and a column topped with a golden bowl and sphinx that has given the space its name, the “Room of the Sphinxes.”

Old Kingdom Tomb
Saqqara, Egypt
Maya Subterranean World
Chichen Itza, Mexico
Neolithic Henge Feasts
Wiltshire, England
On the Origin of Apples
Tuzusai, Kazakhstan
Medieval Female Scribe
Dalheim, Germany
New Golden House Room
Rome, Italy
Peruvian Mass Sacrifice
Pampa la Cruz, Peru
Denisovans at Altitude
Xiahe, China
Tomb of the Silver Dragons
Arkhangai, Mongolia
Norman Conquest Coin Hoard
Chew Valley, England



Recent Issues