A Roman Tomb That Dates To The 2nd Century BC With Beautifully Painted Banquet Scenes Has Been Found In Naples

The banquet scene that adorns the walls of this Roman tomb in Cumae is the only fresco to be discovered that is not just painted red and white at this archaeological site.

An ancient Roman tomb with banquet scenes has been discovered in Cumae outside of Naples, Italy.
Francesco Ricciardi Exp / Shutterstock

The banquet scene that adorns the walls of this Roman tomb in Cumae is the only fresco to be discovered that is not just painted red and white at this archaeological site.

Just 15 miles away from Naples, Italy in what was once the ancient city of Cumae, archaeologists have discovered a Roman tomb that has been dated to the 2nd century BC which has beautifully painted banquet scenes inside of it.

As Phys.org reports, this Roman-era necropolis where the tomb was found has been studied by Jean-Pierre Brun, a professor at the Collège de France and Priscilla Munzi, a CNRS researcher at the Jean Bérard Centre (CNRS-EFR). The archaeological dig that they are involved in has been an ongoing process since 2001, and after 17 years the site continues to yield exciting new discoveries like this special Roman tomb.

The tomb was found to still be in a pristine condition which is a small miracle given its age, and many pigments of the painting of the banquet scene still remain on its walls. The town of Cumae where it was found was once an extremely large one, being twice the size of Pompeii, and looks straight out at the island of Ischia, beside the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Archaeologists determined that to enter this Roman tomb in Cumae, visitors would have had to bypass an enormous stone block that stood at its entrance. Inside the chamber were built three funerary beds, and despite the raids that occurred in the 19th century there is still evidence inside of funerary furnishings that would have adorned the tomb thousands of years ago. It is the traces of these furnishings that archaeologists were able to take samples from to give an accurate dating of the tomb to the 2nd century BC.

Up until the present time, archaeologists had only discovered tombs that were painted either red or white, but this tomb appears to be the exception to the rule and suggests that only elite individuals were placed here for burial. The figure paintings found in this Roman tomb are exquisite, and one of these depicts a servant who is holding a vase and a large jug of wine.

It is believed that the guests that would have attended this luxurious banquet would have been painted on the walls of tomb as well, and the pigments and plaster still attached to the walls are extremely rare for a tomb that dates back as far in time as this one does.

Interestingly, while the banquet painting in this tomb would have once been considered highly fashionable centuries before, at the time that it was painted in the 2nd century BC it would have gone out of vogue.

To make certain that the painted fresco inside the Roman tomb in Cumae remains preserved, archaeologists have removed it and the broken pieces that were found littered on the ground and will put the pieces together once again for further study of the banquet scene.