A shrine dedicated to the legendary founder of Rome, Romulus, has been discovered after archaeologists excavated the Roman Forum and stumbled upon the discovery.
The shrine includes an underground chamber containing a 55-inch sarcophagus, and what experts believe may be an altar. The sarcophagus dates to the 6th century B.C., according to experts.
"This is an extraordinary discovery," Alfonsina Russo, director of the Colosseum Archaeological Park, told The Times of London. "The forum never ceases to yield amazing fresh treasures."
Mayor Virginia Raggi praised the discovery, tweeting: “Rome always marvels with its treasures. Inside the Roman Forum new exciting archaeological discovery: a hypogeum with a tuff sarcophagus from the 6th century BC. Thanks to a team of scholars who conducted the research."
The discovery will be unveiled on Friday by the Colosseum Archaeological Park, which is overseeing the excavations. However, no remains were discovered in the coffin, which makes it difficult, if not impossible, to verify the claim.
The Forum was the center of public life in ancient Rome, the Associated Press reported. The monument is near the main complex of public buildings, which include the senate and the rostra — the speaker's podium where all important pronouncements were made.
According to legend, Romulus founded the city in 753 B.C. after he murdered his twin brother Remus following an argument over where the city should be built.
The Roman Empire continues to reveal its secrets. Researchers, for example, recently discovered that some Vesuvius victims "baked" as they died. Experts also recently discovered ancient brain matter that was turned into glass as a result of the volcanic eruption that devastated the city.
The Roman city of Pompeii was devastated following the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. Pompeii was quickly buried by volcanic ash, killing about 2,000 of the city’s residents, according to History.com.
In October, a pair of 2,000-year-old scrolls believed to have belonged to the family of Julius Caesar were virtually "unwrapped" for the first time.
This story has been updated to reflect that the legend states Rome was founded in 753 B.C.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.