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August 8, 2009

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Roman emperor's villa found

ARCHEOLOGISTS have unearthed a sprawling country villa believed to be the birthplace of Vespasian, the Roman emperor who built the Colosseum, they said yesterday.

The 2,000-year-old ruins were found about 130 kilometers northeast of Rome, near Cittareale, lead archeologist Filippo Coarelli said.

The 14,000-square-meter complex was at the center of an ancient village called Falacrine, Vespasian's hometown.

Even though there are no inscriptions to attribute it for sure, the villa's location and luxury make it likely it was Vespasian's birthplace, according to Coarelli.

"This is the only villa of this kind in the area where he most certainly was born (in 9 AD)," the archeologist said in a telephone interview from Cittareale.

The four-year excavation, which also turned up other ruins, including a necropolis burial ground, was done by a group of Italian and British archeologists.

Vespasian, whose full name was Titus Flavius Vespasianus, brought stability to the empire following turmoil under the extravagant Emperor Nero and a civil war among his successors.


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