Temple of Serapis

Goes with the ebb and flow.

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Misnomered by 18th century archaeologists as a temple to the god Serapis, this was actually the site of Roman Pozzuoli’s ancient market place, the macellum. Today, it’s just one part of Pozzuoli’s landscape and the locals’ everyday backdrop. If you’re not impressed by this seemingly unexceptional Roman excavation site that seems to be swallowed up by the modern construction around it, it may be you’re missing the interesting part of the story.

At first glance you won’t notice, in fact you probably won’t be able to tell at all, but the Temple of Serapis was once submerged seven meters below sea level. Over the millennia, it has risen and fallen in and out of the sea, thanks to geological curiosity known as bradyseism. An extremely rare phenomenon, scientists, vulcanologists and geologists have been studying the temple for a few hundred years; it’s three projecting columns serving as a make-shift measuring stick.

Now sitting at 30 feet below sea level, a walk around the perimeter may help clarify, though the submerged Roman villas at Submerged Baia are an even more interesting example.

Unfortunately, you’re not allowed down to ground level, but most the site is viewable from the street.

At A Glance

Via Serapide

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