THE CURIOUS CASE
OF THE CAT AND THE CATACOMB
A STRAY CAT has discovered an ancient Roman catacomb in Indiana Jones-like fashion, according to a report in THE GUARDIAN.
Mirko Curti, a resident of Rome, reportedly found a 2,000-year-old catacomb stacked with bones while trying to catch a homeless cat that had passed by his apartment building.
Curti says he tracked the cat toward a tufa rock cliff in a residential area of the city.
"The cat managed to get into a grotto and we followed the sound of its miaowing," he told the British newspaper.
Curti and his friend soon found themselves in an area littered with human bones.
After archaeologists visited the scene and assessed the discovery, they estimated that the catacomb likely dated back to sometime between the 1st century BC and the 2nd century AD. The archaeologists theorized that the human bones probably spilled onto the floor from a separate burial space up above.
Rome is home to some of the oldest catacombs in the world.
"Hundreds of kilometers of catacombs run underneath the town and its outskirts," says Adriano Morabito, president of the association Roma Sotterranea (Underground Rome), according to the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC.
"Some of the networks are well known and open to visitors, while others are still scarcely explored. Probably there are a number of lost catacombs, too."
Most of the catacombs date back to the first century.
"The Jewish community in Rome built them as cemeteries. Christian catacombs came a century later. They were not secret meeting places to survive persecutions, as historians thought in the past, but burial tunnels, like the Jewish ones," Morabito adds. "They used to grow larger and larger around the tombs of saints because people asked to be buried near their religious leaders."
With the help of a wayward cat, Curti uncovered one of Rome's lost catacombs.
Roman ruins, of course, are not all located in Rome. BootsnAll has a list of the 10 best Roman ruins outside of Roma that can be seen HERE. Included on the list are sites in Tunisia, France, Turkey, Israel and Lebanon.