2500-year-old hidden chamber discovered under the streets of Naples

Italian researchers have discovered the presence of many Greek tombs underneath the streets of Naples with the help of cosmic radiation. The content of the newly discovered chamber remains a mystery.

Using cosmic radiation and lasers, scientists from the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare, Sezione di Napoli were able to detect traces of an ancient settlement believed to be approximately 2,500 years old. The structures were originally constructed by the Greeks and were once part of the Christian catacombs during the Roman era.

The area, now known as Naples, was originally called Cumae and was renamed Neapolis around 650 BC. It was once home to several churches, forums, and numerous underground tombs. Scientists have long suspected that Greek tombs lay beneath the streets of Naples, but no evidence had been found until now.

Although only a small part of the archaeological treasures is accessible through underground structures such as reservoirs built since the 16th century or shelters built during the Second World War, the scientists noted the importance of this discovery.

The study revealed that the site comprises the hypogeum, which was the burial ground for wealthy individuals, dating back to the Greek Hellenistic era (6th-3rd century BC), as well as graves from the subsequent Roman period (2nd-4th century AD). These tombs are situated nearly 10 meters beneath the streets, making them rather challenging to locate. However, with the aid of muography, archaeologists were able to recognize the burial sites without the need for extensive excavation.

Muon is a subatomic particle, which is considered as one of the fundamental building blocks of the universe. It is heavier than an electron and is generated when cosmic rays interact with atoms in the atmosphere. Muons have the ability to penetrate through hard materials such as rocks and walls, which allows specialists to create a 3D image of a specific object. This technology is also used by researchers while excavating Egyptian pyramids.

By utilizing muography, researchers were able to uncover a concealed chamber under Naples, although they were unable to determine its contents.

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