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6.10.04

Roman Venus Discovered in Cologne

Agence France-Presse reports (Découverte d'une Vénus vieille de 1650 ans, September 27, via La Libre Belgique) that workers at a construction site in Cologne have discovered a partial statue of Venus, which is now being cleaned in the city's Roman-Germanic Museum:

This marble statue, estimated to be 1,650 years old, of which only the trunk remains, is "extremely rare for the entire period of Roman presence in present-day Germany," confirms the museum's director, Hansgerd Hellenkemper. The statue was found 5 meters down during work on the maritime canal. "Because there were no baths or temple in this area, we assume that this Venus decorated a rich landowner's home," said Mr. Hellenkemper. According to him, the statue was created in Italy, then brought by ship to Cologne, then a part of the Roman Empire, during the first century AD. "The delicate breasts are typical of this period. Later, they took on a more robust form," he explained. The statue must have been damaged during the sack of the city by the Franks in 355 AD. When the Romans took back the city in the following year, it was likely used as the foundation of a road, the museum director, who doubts the missing pieces will be recovered.
The statue has been dubbed the Venus of the Hohenstrasse. It will be exhibited to the public, after a thorough cleaning, starting on November 6. (Go to this article from Der Standard to see a picture.)

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