Modern construction leads to discoveries of Rome’s ancient past

Thursday, February 28, 2019


Directions: Read the summary, watch the video and answer the discussion questions.You may want to read along using the transcript here or turn on “CC” closed-captions.

Summary: There’s a big dig going on in the historic heart of Rome (“centro historico”) with the goal of creating a new state-of-the-art subway line. With some of the excavation nearly 100 feet underground, archaeologists are reaching untapped sites that were out of reach before. Although some of the discoveries near the Colosseum have meant delays for the new subway line, they’ve also unearthed a surprise treasure trove of thousands of artifacts, including a Roman military barracks and an ancient home with more than a dozen rooms featuring frescoes, mosaic floors, and other decorations that are nearly intact.



Discussion questions: 

1) Essential question: What can ancient Roman ruins reveal about the past?

2) Why have more archeological digs not been carried out in the “centro storico” — the old city center of Rome?

3) Is it possible to have an advanced subway system in Rome and preserve its ancient ruins? Which do you think is more important? Explain.

4) Media literacy: What are the questions you would ask regarding how much money such excavations and delays cost the taxpayer?

Extension activities:

Dig deeper into ancient history with this video on France’s ‘mini Pompeii.’ There’s an archaeological race against time underway in France as archaeologists work to save artifacts from a site dubbed as a “mini Pompeii.” This discovery of these 2,000-year-old Roman ruins is being called perhaps the most important of its kind in the past 50 years.



Visit PBS NewsHour Extra for more education resources designed to help teachers and students identify the who, what, where and why-it-matters of the major national and international news stories. You can read the original story here@NewsHourExtra