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Experts working on the restoration of Emperor Nero’s vast palace in Rome have stumbled upon a secret, underground room decorated with panthers, centaurs and a sphinx.

The chamber, brought to light after 2,000 years, is part of the remains of the Domus Aurea (Golden House), the immense palace that Nero built after the fire of 64 AD that devastated Rome.

A team at the Archaeological Park of the Coliseum, which encompasses the palace, came upon the opening to the chamber by chance as they were mounting scaffolding for work on an adjacent room of the complex.
With the help of artificial lighting, they uncovered a vault covered with colorful frescoes, featuring figures such as the god Pan, a centaur, a panther attacking a man with a sword, and a “mute and solitary sphinx,” the Archeological Park of the Coliseum said in a statement.
Mirage Gstaad installation by Doug Aitken