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“Hidden Treasure of Rome” Brings Artifacts to Mizzou


“Hidden Treasure of Rome” Project Unveiled; MU, Italian Museum, City of Rome, Energy Company Partner for Historical Cultural Project

Contact: Christian Basi, MU News Bureau

The first-of-its-kind agreement allows MU researchers access to previously unstudied works from ancient Rome

For more than a century, hundreds of thousands of historical artifacts dating back to before the founding of Rome have been stored in crates in the Capitoline Museums of Rome, where they have remained mostly untouched. Now, the City of Rome; the Capitoline Museums, the first public museum in the world; and Enel Green Power North America, a leading renewable energy company; have started a project, known as “The Hidden Treasure of Rome,” which will bring those artifacts into the laboratories of U.S. universities to be studied, restored, categorized and catalogued. The University of Missouri is the first university selected for this project.

“This agreement represents a significant advance in understanding our cultural heritage and our shared human past,” MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin said. “It recognizes the unique expertise and resources at the University of Missouri. We are both proud and humbled to be selected by the Capitoline Museums and the City of Rome to inaugurate this major international initiative, bringing together the oldest American public university west of the Mississippi with the oldest public museum in the world. We recognize the enormous responsibilities and also the incredible opportunities for discoveries that result from this partnership.” 

Under the agreement, both MU scholars and students will have access to the antiquities. Graduate students in MU’s Department of Art History and Archaeology will be working directly with the collections and can use these objects for thesis and dissertation projects. The first set of loans — 249 black-gloss ceramics dating to the period of the Roman Republic (fifth to first centuries B.C.) —recently were received by the MU Museum of Art and Archaeology.

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