Italian archaeologists digging in the Roman Forum have found a
well-preserved skeleton of a woman who lived 3,000 years ago.
The astonishing fact about this discovery is that it dates back to at
least 300 years before the traditional date of the founding of Rome, 753
It has long been known that Bronze Age people were living on the site
where the ancient Romans founded their city.
But few traces of their society have ever been brought to light.
Anna De Santis, who took part in the dig, said the woman whose bones
have been found was aged about 30 when she died.
She was evidently of high birth, for she was wearing an amber necklace
with a gold pendant, a bronze hair-fastener and a bronze ring on one of
The archaeologists also found four bronze clasps, two of which may
have been used to hold her shroud in place.
It was the custom for most prehistoric ancestors of the ancient Romans
to cremate their dead and place their ashes in funerary urns.
Experts in Roman pre-history are interested that the new burial site,
not far from the forum where Caesar's body was burned after his
assassination 1,000 years later, marks a transition in social habits, from
cremation - the customary form of burial at that period of pre-history -
to burial in the ground.