Shrine to Romulus discovered in Roman forum

Views from the Capitol Hill over the ancient Roman Forum in Rome, May 24, 1968. At left are columns of a temple to the Emperor Antoninus Pius and his wife Faustina, and at right three columns of a temple to the Dioscuri Castor and Pollux. In far center background, the bell-tower of the Church of Saint Francesca Romana, and still father back the ruins of the Coleseum. (AP Photo)

ROME — Archaeologists excavating the Roman Forum have discovered an underground shrine dedicated to Romulus, the founder of the ancient city.

The monument includes an underground chamber with a 1.4-meter (55-inch) high sarcophagus and what appears to be an altar. The sarcophagus dates from the 6th Century B.C.

The Colosseum Archaeological Park, which oversees the ongoing excavations of the Forum, is to unveil the discovery Friday.

The Forum was the center of public life in ancient Rome. The location of the monument to Romulus is near the main complex of public buildings, which include the senate and the rostra — the speaker’s podium where all important pronouncements were made.

According to Roman mythology, Romulus and his twin brother Remus were founders of the ancient city of Rome and the Roman kingdom.

Mayor Virginia Raggi praised the discovery, tweeting: “Rome always marvels with its treasures.”