Archaeologists Discover 2,000-Year-Old “Tomb of Cerberus” in Italy  


By Toby Leffew 

Archaeologists recently discovered a 2,000-year-old sealed tomb in Giugliano, Italy.  The tomb was discovered during archaeological surveys within the area before planned construction.  

This tomb is notable due to two mural paintings in the fresco style within. 

The paintings in the tomb depict creatures from Greek and Roman mythology, which were known to be worshipped during the time period the tomb was created, thus leading to art inspired by it. There are two paintings within the tomb. One depicts two ichthyocentaurs (sea creatures with the upper body of a man, the forelegs of a horse, and the tail of a fish) holding a shield, as cherubs cling to their arms. Another painting is a depiction of the mythical story of Hercules going into Hades to capture Cerberus. The tomb has gained the nickname “The Tomb of Cerberus” due to this painting.  

The Tomb of Cerberus is also notable for its preservation. The paintings are relatively well preserved after remaining untouched for 2,000 years. 

According to one of the archaeologists involved in the discovery, Valentina Russo, the archaeologists were delighted by the rarity of what they discovered, as well as simply being part of the team who discovered it. Italy’s Superintendent of Archaeology, Landscaping, and Fine Arts expressed joy for the tomb’s discovery, as well as pride for the attention it has been getting from archaeologists, and hope for what the discovery meant for further preservation of Giugliano’s past. 

2,000 years ago in Italy, nobles were buried in tombs like this one. Such tombs typically contained decorations, as well as objects. It is currently unknown who this tomb was made by or intended for. However, archaeologists will continue to examine and excavate the sight, searching for an answer.