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A large, vaulted chamber was recently found in the famed palace of the Emperor Nero in Rome. The room, which has lain undisturbed for almost 2000 years, was once part of Nero's massive Domus Aurea (the Golden Palace). Nero began to build his Golden Palace in AD 64 after the great fire that burned 2/3 of the city; once completed, it was said to have covered four of Rome's seven hills and held 300 rooms. The recently-discovered chamber is 15 feet (4.5 m) high and most of the room is still filled with dirt. The visible parts of the walls are decorated with paintings of centaurs, the god Pan, a scene of a man with a sword being attacked by a panther, and a Sphinx. A preliminary investigation has led scholars to believe that the frescoes were likely painted by Imperial Roman craftsmen between AD 65-68. Given their age the paintings are in fantastic condition, and the director of the excavations has declared them to be of "immense artistic and archeological value." The archaeological team from the Parco Archeologico del Colosseo hopes to excavate the rest of the chamber over the next few months.

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