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Remarkable Mythical Frescoes Found in Naples Tomb

Archaeologists have discovered an “exceptional” ancient Roman burial chamber that is decorated with images of Cerberus, the fierce mythological dog that was believed to guard the underworld. The untouched tomb was found in an area that is rich in ancient burial sites near the town of Giugliano, just north of Naples, on Italy's south west coast.

Mythical beast Cerberus depicted in a fresco, Naples
Cerberus | Ministry of Culture, Italy

Upon removing a large stone slab that sealed the entrance, the archaeologists became the first people to enter the chamber in 2,000 years. “The emotions caused by a discovery like this are incredible,” said Mariano Nuzzo, the archaeologist who was the first to explore the tomb.

He said that after years of neglect, the area was once again being explored and “revealing its glorious past”.

Inside, he found the walls and ceiling decorated with a series of stunning frescoes. In addition to the depiction of Cerberus - the mythical three-headed hound of Hades - they also found scenes featuring two ichthyocentaurs, an extraordinary and even more improbable creature of myth that has the upper body of a man, the lower body and front legs of a horse and the tail of a fish.

Fresco of two ichthyocentaurs in a tomb in Naples
Two ichthyocentaurs | Ministry of Culture, Italy

“The tomb has frescoed ceilings and walls in perfect condition, with mythological scenes that go all around the room,” archaeologists said in a statement, calling the discovery “unprecedented”.


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