Hidden tomb in lost Roman temple may be 'resting place of city founder Romulus'

EXPERTS may have finally identified the long lost tomb of Romulus, the legendary founder of Rome.

A rock sarcophagus unearthed in the Italian capital is believed to have once held the remains of the city's first king after his death in the 6th century BC.

The 4.6ft-long coffin was found in an area dedicated to Romulus within a hidden underground temple at the Roman Forum.

The Forum, a rectangular plaza in the heart of Rome, was once a huge marketplace surrounded by ancient government buildings.

"This is an extraordinary discovery. The forum never ceases to yield amazing fresh treasures," Alfonsina Russo, director of the Colosseum Archaeological Park, told The Times.

According to legend, Romulus founded Rome in 735BC after murdering his twin brother Remus in a fight over where the city should be built.

The story goes that the siblings were born to a princess named Rhea Silvia after she got frisky with the fierce Roman god of war, Mars.

Romulus apparently set up the foundations of Roman politics and society, paving the way for the Roman Empire, which conquering vast swathes of Europe, West Asia and North Africa between 27BC and 476AD.

The underground temple where the ancient ruler's suspected tomb was found is located below the entrance stairway to Curia.

The building still stands today and was where Roman senators once met to vote.

According to Ms Russo, scholars think the temple's alter was positioned where Romans believed Romulus to be buried.

The coffin did not contain any remains, meaning the archaeologists' claims are impossible to verify.

The finding was made near the Lapis Niger, an ancient black shrine in the Roman Forum, according to Andreas Steiner, editor of the Italian magazine Archeo.

Discovered in 1899, the shrine features a Greek inscription referring to sacred ground nearby that should not be disturbed.

In Roman mythology, Romulus and brother Remus were left to die as babies in a basket on the River Tiber.

They survived and were taken in by a she-wolf, who nursed them back to health.

Of course, the story is legend, and it's not clear whether Romulus or Remus ever existed.

Archaeologists believe Rome actually arose when several settlements on the Plains of Latium joined in order to better defend against attack.

The Romans in Britain

Here's everything you need to know…

The Roman Empire conquered vast swathes of Europe, West Asia and North Africa.

A Roman force of 40,000 led by Aulus Plautius landed in Kent and took the south east in 43 AD.

Key tribal leaders surrendered, and within three years Britain was declared part of the Roman Empire.

Londinium (London) was founded in 47 AD and became the country's capital. Networks of roads were built across the country.

Over time, the Britons began to adopt Roman customs, such as towns, animals, a new religion and ways of reading and counting. The Romans even gave us the word "Britain".

The Romans largely remained in the south of Britain, famously never managing to take Scotland from the country's violent Barbarian forces.

By 410 AD, the Empire was falling apart, and Roman rule ended in Britain when soldiers were recalled to Rome to protect other parts of it.

In other news, the face of Julius Caesar may have been revealed after cool 3D reconstruction.

A fascinating map of Roman Britain released last year revealed the ancient roads built 2,000 years ago that you still drive on today.

Ancient Roman graffiti has been unearthed 1,800 years after it was carved into a quarry used to build Hadrian's Wall.

Do you think the tomb once housed Romulus' remains? Let us know in the comments!

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