Fragment of Roman Emperor statue found

Part of a stone head found in West Sussex 45 years ago is now known to have come from a statue of Nero, the fifth and last Roman emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty.

The statue shows Nero aged just 14, and is one of only three in the world known to depict him at this age.

According to 3D computer mapping techniques, the stone fragment perfectly matches the statue.

At 14, the Emperor Claudius would have only just named Nero as his heir. Claudius died while Nero was still a teenager.

Although there are conflicting accounts, a common view from Roman texts is that Nero was a murderous and tyrannical leader.

However he also worked hard at trade and diplomacy, and negotiated a peace settlement after a successful war with the Parthian Empire.

Nero's reign ran from 54-68 AD, when he was driven out and apparently committed suicide.

The section of statue's head, which was found in the remains of a Roman palace, has been matched with the use of 3D laser scanning technology.

The discovery has been described as being of 'international significance' by archaeologists.

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