Michael and Edward O'Neill, MEON HDTV Productions

Michael and Edward O'Neill, MEON HDTV Productions

Underground Discovery

A pair of British filmmakers recently found remains of an aqueduct that delivered fresh water to Rome some 1,900 years ago.

The duo found the aqueduct through a concealed door in a ruined chapel in the Italian village of Manziana.

Beyond the subterranean chamber, a 410-foot-long gallery led to the beginning of the aqueduct and a large chamber that had been dedicated to spring nymph gods.

This three-chambered semicircular nymphaeum was converted into a Paleo Christian chapel after 392 A.D.

Read an article about the discovery here.

Michael and Edward O'Neill, MEON HDTV Productions

This aqueduct was one of 11 that fed water to ancient Rome. It originated around Lake Bracciano, 25 miles from the city.

After collecting water from other springs on its way down to the capital, the channel finally reached Janiculum Hill in Rome, providing clean, drinkable water to the Trastevere district.

Michael and Edward O'Neill, MEON HDTV Productions

This map shows how by 1718, the chamber once dedicated to nymph gods had been converted into a church, called the "Madonna della Fiora," or Madonna of the Flower in the parish of Manziana.

Michael and Edward O'Neill, MEON HDTV Productions

This is a view of the aqueduct (full of mud), stretching towards Rome.

Trajan (the 13th Roman emperor) almost certainly came there for the aqueduct's inauguration. The emperor commemorated the opening of the aqueduct by minting a Roman coin and building a fountain on Janiculum Hill, right where the waters entered the city.

Michael and Edward O'Neill, MEON HDTV Productions

The nymphaeum is now located inside a pig farm and is used today as a rubbish dump. Fig roots are pushing through the vaulted ceiling.

"The site is crumbling and could totally disintegrated in 20 years. It desperately needs to be restored," said documentary-maker and co-discoverer Edward O'Neill.