London, October 3 (ANI): Scientists are going to perform a 3D scan of a statue of a boy's head to determine if it's a depiction of Roman Emperor Nero as a young boy.
According to a report in The News, the head, found at Fishbourne Roman Palace, West Sussex, UK, will undergo a 3D scan to see if it is a rare marble statue of Emperor Nero as a young boy.
If it is, it would be only the third surviving piece of its kind in the world.
Every other depiction of him was destroyed when he committed suicide after being declared an enemy of the state in AD 68.
The Fishbourne statue was found in 1964, but until recently it was always believed to be that of King Togidubnes or a member of his family.
But, Dr Rob Symmons, curator of archaeology at Fishbourne, will join forces with Bournemouth University lecturers Dr Miles Russell and Harry Manley, who will run scans on the head and recreate the damaged parts of the face, to test the theory that it could in fact be the emperor.
"This is very exciting as the scan will allow us to see for the first time what the boy really looked like and may also reveal his identity," Dr Symmons said.
"We have always assumed he was related to the Royal family who lived here but it may be that it is even more special and is a rare depiction of Nero," he added.
Two of the best-known examples of the teenage Nero are portraits preserved in the Museo Nazionale d'Antichita in Parma and the Musee du Louvre in Paris.
Both representations are thought to have been created as part of the official recognition that Nero was on his way to becoming chief heir of Claudius.
The rounded cheeks and full, curving lips of the Fishbourne piece almost exactly match the features of the young Nero on display in Parma and Paris, as do the rounded lower face, slightly protruding ears, curling locks of hair and almond-shaped eyes.
According to Dr Russell, "They tried to eradicate the fact that Nero ever existed. This particular head is extremely well made in a very expensive type of marble and someone has taken an axe to it and smashed it almost to oblivion. Why else would they do that?" (ANI)