Cat Leads Owner to Discover 2,000-Year-Old Roman Ruins

10/27/2012

Catacombs
Photo: Deb Collins/Flickr

While chasing his elusive cat through the streets of Rome, Mirko Curti inadvertently stumbled upon 2,000-year-old, previously undiscovered Roman ruins, according to the Guardian.

"The cat managed to get into a grotto and we followed the sound of its meowing," said Curti.

The wayward feline was fleeing his owner near Via di Pietralata in a residential area of the city when it scampered towards a low tufa rock cliff. Curti followed his cat into an opening in the cliff, and suddenly found himself surrounded by human bones. Niches in the walls where the cat was hiding also contained ancient Roman urns.

After experts were called in, it became clear just what Curti and his archaeologist cat had uncovered: an ancient tomb which probably dated to somewhere between the 1st century BC and the 2nd century AD. In other words, the tomb's ghostly inhabitants could have been contemporaries of Jesus.

Of course, ruins are nothing new to the citizens of Rome, as the city has been continuously inhabited for millennia. But not many ruins can be said to have been unearthed by a cat. These might be the most aptly named 'catacombs' in the whole of the city.

Experts added that the ruins were likely exposed following heavy rains from earlier in the week. Tufa rock was widely used by ancient Romans for digging tombs due to its softness, but it is the rock's loose constitution which also exposes its contents to the elements. Over time, it's likely that more catacombs will become exposed in the area.

Curti wasn't about to let the commonplace nature of the find dampen his enthusiasm, though, calling it "the most amazing experience of my life." No doubt his cat just missed its favorite spot to nap.

The report doesn't mention the cat's name, but no doubt "Indiana Jones" would be a fitting new moniker.

By Bryan Nelson


Follow fascinating, funny, tragic or otherwise compelling and timely stories about animals, as chosen by our editors and writers, including Daily Treat blogger, Janet McCulley.
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