ARCHAELOGISTS were yesterday celebrating the discovery of an intact 3,000-year-old Bronze Age skeleton in the heart of ancient Rome.
Experts said the body was that of a woman and that she was probably the wife of a tribal leader as she was buried with four bronze bracelets, a ring, two hair-grips and an amber necklace.
Burials within ancient Rome were rare, with cremations more common.
The find has excited experts not just because it dates back to 1,000 years before Christ, but also because it predates the very founding of Rome at 745BC.
What has also amazed historians is that the woman, who was aged about 30, had a perfect set of teeth.
Anna De Santis, the archaeologist leading the dig, said: "It's a fascinating discovery because it is the first burial site that we have found in this particular area - the rest have all been cremations.
"What is also interesting is that she has a full set of perfect teeth, so one would imagine her flashing a beautiful smile. At 5ft 7in she would also have been above the average height for the period, so with her beautiful smile and flowing hair kept in place with bronze hairpieces, one can picture a very beautiful woman."
The skeleton was found in the Forum of Caesar in central Rome, close to the famous "wedding cake" monument of Piazza Venezia.
Three thousand years ago the Forum was marshland and only began to develop into the cornerstone of ancient Rome 500 years later.