Pier Paolo Cito  /  AP
An archaeologist works on a mosaic discovered in downtown Rome.
updated 7/29/2011 1:42:19 PM ET 2011-07-29T17:42:19

Excavations in the bowels of an ancient Roman hill have turned up a well-preserved, late 1st century wall mosaic with a figure of Apollo, nude except for a colorful mantle over a shoulder.

Archaeologists and city officials unveiled the recent find to reporters Friday on the Oppian Hill.

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The mosaic-covered wall is 16 meters (53 feet) wide and at least 2 meters (6.6 feet) high. Officials think the wall continues down some 8 meters (26.5 feet) more.

Archaeologists say the wall appears to be in a tunnel built to help support Trajan's Baths, named for the emperor who ruled from 98 till 117. The mosaic, which also depicts a Muse, apparently embellished a room where wealthy Romans gathered to hear music and discuss art.

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