This Week In History News, Jul. 23 – 29

Published July 28, 2023

Theater of Nero found beneath a hotel site in Rome, oldest known glass workshop discovered in the Czech Republic, ancient "sounding" dance floor unearthed in Peru.

Archaeologists In Rome Uncover Lost Theater Of Nero

Theater Of Nero

ZUMA Press, Inc. / Alamy Stock PhotoArchaeologists discovered the remains of the ancient Theater of Nero in Rome.

Emperor from 54 C.E. until he died in 68 C.E., Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus was notorious for having supposedly played his fiddle while Rome burned in a massive fire and for allegedly killing two of his wives — and even his own mother.

But despite his bad reputation, Nero was also famously a lover of the arts. About 2,000 years ago, it’s believed he had an elaborate theater built where he staged public performances of music and poetry. For centuries, this fabled Theater of Nero theater was lost. Now, archaeologists believe they’ve finally found it — beneath the courtyard garden of a future Four Seasons hotel in Rome.

Learn more about this “exceptional” discovery here.

Earliest-Known Glass Workshop North Of The Alps Uncovered In The Czech Republic

Glass Objects

AntiquitySome of the glass objects found at Němčice, which archaeologists now believe was an important glassmaking site.

Archaeologists have long known that the early settlement site of Němčice in the Czech Republic was special. Since its discovery in 2002, researchers have discovered thousands of gold coins, sunken huts, and glass jewelry there.

Now, archaeologists excavating the site have unearthed a number of glass objects in various states of completion, indicating that Němčice was the site of a glassmaking workshop — the oldest known workshop north of the Alps.

In addition, archaeologists came across a square structure that bears a striking resemblance to other ancient buildings that were used for rituals. These finds all suggest that the settlement at Němčice played an important role as a ritualistic and production center in the ancient world. Learn more in this article.

Ancient Open-Air Dance Floor Designed To Mimic The Sound Of Thunder Unearthed In Peru

Peruvian Dance Floor

ORP-PIACI ProjectThe open-air platform at Viejo Sangayaico makes a deep percussive sound when stomped on.

Archaeologists in Peru have discovered an ancient open-air dance floor designed to create a drum-like sound when stomped on, possibly in honor of a thunder god. The dance floor was found at the Viejo Sangayaico site, roughly 125 miles southeast of Lima, and likely constructed sometime between 1000 and 1400 C.E.

The unique design of this “sounding” platform alternates between four layers of camelid guano and four layers of clay, with the materials being strategically placed to create a percussive sound. Archaeologists say the Viejo Sangayaico dance floor was likely created to mimic the sound of thunder, as Andean cultures believed in various gods connected to lightning, rain, and thunder.

Dig deeper into this fascinating find here.

All That's Interesting
Established in 2010, All That's Interesting brings together a dedicated staff of digital publishing veterans and subject-level experts in history, true crime, and science. From the lesser-known byways of human history to the uncharted corners of the world, we seek out stories that bring our past, present, and future to life. Privately-owned since its founding, All That's Interesting maintains a commitment to unbiased reporting while taking great care in fact-checking and research to ensure that we meet the highest standards of accuracy.
Maggie Donahue
Maggie Donahue is an assistant editor at All That's Interesting. She has a Master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and a Bachelor's degree in creative writing and film studies from Johns Hopkins University. Before landing at ATI, she covered arts and culture at The A.V. Club and Colorado Public Radio and also wrote for Longreads. She is interested in stories about scientific discoveries, pop culture, the weird corners of history, unexplained phenomena, nature, and the outdoors.