Workmen repairing a gas main under a busy street in the Esquiline Hill area of Rome have stumbled across an ancient Roman villa.

Esquiline Hill, Rome.

Esquiline Hill, Rome. Image by Herb Neufeld / CC BY 2.0

Speleologists from Underground Rome were lowered on a rope about 12ft down through the small opening created by the gas workers’ digger and at the bottom found a 20ft-long room dating to the first century AD, complete with frescoed walls. Archaeologists hope that they will make more discoveries as they widen the excavated area. Read more: