Although the traditional date of foundation of the city of Rome is the year 753 BC, in reality the area was inhabited since the Iron Age, with some remains dating back to 900 BC One of them is known as Tugurium Romuli o House of Romulus, the supposed abode of the legendary founder of Rome.
It was found during excavations on the Palatine in 1872, located in its southwest corner near the caco’s ladder that rose from the Foro Boario and in the area that descends towards the Circus Maximus, the place indicated by the ancient sources.
Tacio lived where the temple of Moneta is now, and Rómulo next to the stands called Rivahermosa, which are on the descent from the Palatine to the Circus Maximus
Plutarch, life of romulus XX
It was a traditional Latin cabin, with a single room with a thatched roof and walls of mud and reeds. According to Cassius Dio and Dionysius of Halicarnassus the building was repeatedly damaged by fire and storms, but each time carefully restored to its original, plain, unadorned state, as the Romans believed it to be the true abode of Romulus.
Model showing the type of cabins on the Palatine / photo Kathryn Arnold on Wikimedia Commons
Dio Casio affirms that in the year 38 BC it was destroyed by fire as a result of a ceremony carried out inside by the priests who offered a sacrifice to Romulus as the god Quirinus.
Now, many portentous events had happened before, such as the spill of olive oil on the banks of the Tiber, and many also at this time. Thus, Rómulo’s cabin was burned as a result of some ritual that the pontiffs were performing in it; a statue of Virtus, which was standing before one of the doors, fell on its face, and certain people, inspired by the Mother of the Gods, declared that the goddess was angry with them
Cassius Dio, roman history XLVIII.43
Photo Ursus in Wikimedia Commons
Another fire took place in 12 BC at the death of Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, when some ravens dropped burning pieces of meat that they had taken from an altar onto the thatched roof.
The star called comet rested for several days over the city and finally dissolved into flashes that looked like torches. Many buildings in the city were destroyed by fire, including Rómulo’s cabin, which was set on fire by ravens who dropped burned meat from some altar on it.
Cassius Dio, roman history LIV.29
It is believed that the so-called Tugurium Faustini that the sources mention in the Palatine during the reign of Constantine (312-337 AD) could actually be the house of Romulus, which would still be preserved. In such a case it would have remained intact until the 4th century AD.
When excavated in 1872, the house’s foundation was found to be cut into the tuff bedrock, with six holes to insert posts arranged in a circle and one in the center, perhaps for the supporting struts of the walls and roof.
In 1946 new excavations also found remains of organic material, which was dated to the first Iron Age (between 900 and 700 BC).
Roma Antica (Famiano Nardini) / Life of Romulus (Plutarch) / Roman History (Dion Cassius) / Wikipedia