#35: Roman Forum Museum (Antiquarium Forense)

This small museum is in the Closter/Convent behind the 'Church of Santa Francesca Romana' (the Church in the Temple of Venus and Roma section) aka 'Santa Maria Nova'. The museum's entrance is alongside the rear of the Church's right (south) side, just about 15 m up and past the about six long ancient marble steps that run from the Church over to the Arch of Titus. The entrance is a *small* roofed building tucked into the corner |C|*====|T| where the Church merges into the much wider Closter. (Also note to the right of this entrance there is a nice section of the seven-stepped SW corner of the podium/foundation of the Temple of Venus and Roma ).

Now the Bad News: At the time of writing this the Museum is closed for "Restoration" which in Rome often means anything from years to decades :-( . (It's still closed in 2014, and the building is now used as security headquarters for the Roman Forum - Jeff)

In 1900 the Head Archaeologist (Giacomo Boni) who excavated the Roman Forum setup this small Museum. He is also buried on the Palatine Hill overlooking the Roman Forum which is quite an Honor. It has quite a few good historical artifacts (statues, reliefs, friezes, building fragments, etc), fifteen skeletons and some cremation urns from the 900-700's BC pre-Roman Forum graves with some really nice grave goods and thousands of small but really cool finds, often just fragments of (pottery, lamps, vases, stylus-pens, coins, statuettes, dice, cups, a pan, a flute, weights, terracotta tiles, etc).

Personally I Love seeing things like these in a museum that were used by ordinary people in their everyday Lives and I try to imagine who they were (the man gambling with the dice, the musician playing the flute, the persons writing with the stylus-pens perhaps a poet or a shopkeeper just doing his books, etc).

There will be one glass display case in a separate room (III) from all the other skeleton's glass display cases. In this display case there are two skeletons of a man and a woman with no grave goods like in all the others. The odd thing here is that they were a man and woman buried *together*. And in the 600's when there were no longer adults being buried anywhere in the Forum area only children and that ended in 600's. Plus no grave goods.

And even odder they were buried in the new Roman Forum Square [````+``] Lacus Curtius after the land was reclaimed from the marsh? And they are identified as "an expiatory human sacrifice" ("expiatory" The act of atonement for a sin or wrongdoing). I don't believe it was likely for a Capital Crimes-type of criminal act, like a murder or theft, if so there would be others over the many decades and this is a *Very Special Grave Site* based on the prestigious new Forum Square location (plus no one else was *ever* buried there in its 1100+ year history to the Fall of Rome)?

I'd guess if it was a criminal act it would have to be something horrendous and/or a 'first one of its Kind' in Early Rome (600's BC) and possibly used to set an example? Maybe Aristocratic adulterers with the woman the wife of a powerful man or they crossed Class Lines, like a lower-Class man or worse a Slave and an Aristocratic King's or Senator's family female member who has now dishonored her family, husband or father? Possibly it was of a Religious nature. The man and woman did something sacrilegious to offend the Gods? A Vestal and her Lover? A Priest's augury foretelling a disaster that can only be stopped by a M/F human sacrifice?

Or possibly Rome was hit by something Major (they are losing a war, about to be invaded, plague, famine, earthquake with aftershocks, their sheep or crops are all dying off, etc) and these two unlucky souls just happened to be picked for the offering to appease the Gods that have brought down their wrath upon them?

Well Good Luck I hope it is reopened when you are there. There are only six interconnected rooms with a small courtyard with artifacts like statues, reliefs, etc. And even when it was open it was 'hit and miss', usually only in the mornings *if* it was open at all that day. And the guard at the door would tell you "No Staff" which besides Her/Him was only another person sitting in the interconnected six rooms. So now after starting this 'Roman Forum Walking Tour' eight years ago and putting it off for a few years before that, I have FINALLY :-) reached....

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Next: #36: Footnote: Roman Forum WebSites
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