An ancient tomb thought to belong to Rome’s founder Romulus (AFP)

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 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.”

Director of the Colosseum Archaeological Park Alfonsina Russo told The Times: ‘This is an extraordinary discovery. The forum never ceases to yield amazing fresh treasures.’

Access to a chamber where the ancient tomb lies at the Curia in Rome. (AFP)

Scholars believed, according to Ms Russo, that the temple’s altar has been positioned where ancient Romans believed Romulus was buried.

The underground temple is buried beneath the entrance stairway to the Curia and was the place where Roman senators voted.

The finding had taken place near the Lapis Niger, an ancient black shrine in the Roman Forum, according to Andreas Steiner, editor of the magazine Archeo.

The shrine, discovered in 1899, has a Greek inscription referring to how the sacred ground must not be disturbed.

Romulus and Remus were nursed by a wolf before they founded Rome (Shutterstock)

In Roman mythology, Romulus and his twin brother Remus were left in a basket on the River Tiber. The pair survived and were discovered under a fig tree and a she-wolf suckled them.

Romulus later killed his brother Remus in a fight on what became Palatine Hill in 753BC.


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