Did Archaeologists Unearth The Oldest Known Roman Temple?

Researchers excavating an ancient site in Italy believe they have uncovered the temple of Fortuna, the oldest known Roman temple ever found.
Posted at 11:14 AM, Jan 30, 2014

Archaeologists digging in central Rome say they've found what could be the oldest known Roman Temple — the temple of Fortuna. 

It's believed to have been built around the 7th century BC for the goddess of Fortuna. (Via Wikimedia Commons / CristianChirtia)

The dig has been challenging for the team as the temple is located more than 7 feet below the water line. They dug a hole about 15 feet deep, and stabilized the walls of the hole with metal sheeting. 

One of the researchers working on the Sant'Ombono project told NPR they were only able to keep the hole open for three days because they feared it could collapse on them. 

​"There's a primal part of your brain that tells you to get out of there because if the walls come closing in there's no way out for you."

The team, made up of researchers from the University of Michigan, University of Calabria and Rome archeology officials, have been excavating since 2009. Along the way, they've been uncovering new ideas about ancient Rome.  

They say that ancient Rome wasn't as enduring as we thought. 

"They had the ability to realize, to make their city go, they had to transform the landscape." (Via NPR)

They believe one way the Romans altered their cities was by leveling hilltops and filling valleys to flatten the terrain. They say the river near the temple of Fortuna was also likely diverted by the Romans to make the temple a harbour temple.