Happy Holidays to All, and to All a Healthy Break!

By: Cody Mohon

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (The Loop)- With finals and holiday breaks, it is no surprise that workout and health plans can fall to the wayside. With the dropping temperatures and the sun setting at around 5:30, people are less likely to brave the cold to get to the gym during this time of the year.

However, Lindsay Manning, Coordinator of Fitness for the ARC, emphasizes the importance of remaining healthy throughout the holiday break. “From November 1st to January 1st people can gain anywhere from ten to fifteen pounds. You have to really watch this by keeping up your exercise routine.”

Manning, who graduated from UTC in 2005 as an exercise science major, was working at a local fitness complex when she came across the job at the ARC. “I was thinking about coming back to grad school when I saw this opportunity. We never had anything like this when I was here, so obviously it caught my eye.  I ended up applying, and it ended up being the perfect job for me!”

Once here, Manning really began focusing on how to make the gym more excited and inviting for students. “It’s a great opportunity to come here and build from the ground up a fitness program at UTC and try to get more students involved in working out. We don’t want them thinking of it as coming to the gym, but coming to have fun and rock climb and take classes. We don’t want them to hate coming to work out.”

The staff of the ARC may be what is reeling students in as well. Manning said, “We all know each other very well and are very close knit here at work. So by just being on their level I feel like I can relate to students. They feel comfortable coming to me asking for help with how to use machines and do ab exercises.” Manning thrives on the interaction she has with the students. “I don’t know what I would do if I was in a job where I was by myself all the time doing nothing.”

Students enjoy the indoor rock climbing wall as temperatures drop outside.

Students enjoy the indoor rock climbing wall as temperatures drop outside.

Unfortunately, the chilly temperatures and approaching finals might be what are holding students back. When asked if the number of students coming to work out has increased or decreased as finals get closer, Manning said, “This is actually pretty experimental right now because it is our first fall, our first time being open during the holidays. We thought we would see it slacking off, but its actually increasing daily. We are hoping to see that through exams and the Christmas break.” Manning believes the reason for the increasing numbers is because of the newness of the gym and students spreading the word.

Manning says that most people may slack off in their workout during the holidays because there is not as much outdoor activity to participate in and there are other things to do like holiday shopping. ” We are hoping to offer a lot of different things to do inside like rock climbing and other stuff when it is cold outside. The indoor track is great, because you have a great view of downtown, and if you’re like me I like to have something to look at,” Manning said. With the gym open and classes running until December 23rd, Manning hopes that students will continue coming and enjoying the indoor aspects of the gym.

The classes available at the ARC until December 23rd are:

  • Step Aerobics, Tuesday and Wednesday from 3 to 3:45
  • Boot Camp, Tuesday and Thursday from 6 to 6:50
  • Hip Hop Dance, Tuesday from 5 to 5:50
  • Yoga, Tuesday and Thursday 4 to 4:45
  • Ab Attack, Monday from 6:15 to 7
  • Spin Class, Monday and Tuesday at both 5 and 6, Friday at 5

To see more upcoming classes available at the ARC next spring click here!

Also, the classes being offered at the ARC can be a great way to escape this holiday season. Manning said, “All of our classes will be continued over the break. Yoga would be a great stress reliever on the holidays, so we are really hoping to see students who stay or live in Chattanooga coming in.”

Lindsay Manning, Coordinator of Fitness for the ARC, spends some time in her office.

Lindsay Manning, Coordinator of Fitness for the ARC, spends some time in her office.

Ashley Danford, sophomore at UTC, will be going home to Franklin for the holidays. She plans on going to yoga classes at a local gym there. Also, Danford loves bouldering and hopes to locate a rock climbing facility in Franklin.

For other students going home, Manning advises getting involved in holiday runs and walks. “It not only raises money for charity, but it would be great to walk like 3-6 miles. You will feel better about yourself when you are about to stuff your face!“ Also students at home can stick to the basics. “Do stuff at home like crunches and stretches. Anything like that really counts. Or you could take a little time, like 15 minutes, to go on a brisk walk. Stay active; don’t just lay on the couch all break.”

To find out how to give “fit gifts”, visit the website here!

Manning also has her own disciplines over the holiday break when indulging is so easy. “I can’t go without having some eggnog over Christmas. So, the biggest thing I do is not tell myself I can’t have something. Because once I tell myself I cant have any eggnog, that’s all I want. What I try to do is indulge if I’m put in the place to, but I check my portion size. I have a half a cup of eggnog or a half a piece of pie instead of saying I cant have that altogether. I think everyone needs to indulge sometimes, or else you will go crazy and eat like a whole bag of cookies.”

To find out how far you would have to walk to burn off those holiday goodies, click here!

Also, Manning will remain as constant as possible with her current workout. “I will lift weights and take morning walks if it’s a day I know I’m going to eat a lot like Christmas or Thanksgiving. Basically I will just keep up cardio and weight training through the holidays.”

Students take advantage of the indoor equipment at the ARC.

Students take advantage of the indoor equipment at the ARC.

Adam Garrison, senior at UTC and member of UTC Outdoors, plans on staying active over the holidays by going on a skiing trip to Colorado with one of his friends. However, the last two weeks of break he plans on just relaxing and enjoying time off.  “I work out and stay active all the rest of the year, so I feel I can take a break around this time of year!”

So, to beat the holiday bulge, students should watch their food portions and keep active. If you are remaining in Chattanooga, be sure to visit the ARC or take an Ab Attack class with Manning! That should keep the weight gain at bay.

Check out how to stay healthy mentally and physically throughout exams and the holidays from a similar story printed in The Echo.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

By: Cody Mohon

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (The Loop)-The cool, crisp air of fall winds its way through campus, tossing fallen leaves aside. The leaves are changing and a rainbow of colors paint the blue sky. Many students cringe away from the approaching cold, dreading finals and the chillier months ahead. However, junior Nathalia Vargas couldn’t be happier. Fall is her favorite season in beautiful Chattanooga.

“The weather is just so perfect and soothing. The temperature is in the 70’s which is great for doing anything outdoors.” Vargas said. “I just love everything about fall; the colors, the scents, the changing of the leaves, and the coming of winter. It’s very exciting!”

Beautiful fall scenery at Signal Point on Signal Mountain.

Beautiful fall scenery at Signal Point on Signal Mountain.

Chattanooga always has plenty of outdoor activities going on, but with the recent perfect weather it is almost impossible to remain indoors. When asked what her favorite fall activities are, Vargas replied, ”Hiking! Signal Point is a great place to go to just relax and soak up the season. Also, pumpkin carving and dressing up for Halloween are always fun!”

Plan your own hike at Signal Point here!

“It’s also great that this is the only time of the year that pumpkin stuff is really popular like pumpkin pie, and pumpkin drinks. Especially pumpkin lattes from Starbucks! Also, candy corn because you don’t really buy those any other time of the year! I just enjoy all the fall flavors.”

Being from Memphis, Vargas is used to the flat scenery that surrounds it. “In Memphis it is really plain so it’s hard to enjoy fall colors there as much. Even just driving from Memphis to Chattanooga you can see the different colored trees covering the mountains. It’s a beautiful drive!”

Vargas even dreams of tying the knot during this vibrant time of year. “I would love to get married during the fall. It just has so many wonderful colors and textures. I want to be in the mountains with the leaves changing color and my wedding colors to reflect the reds, browns, and oranges of the season.”

Vargas soaking up her favorite season at Signal Point.

Vargas soaking up her favorite season at Signal Point.

With Thanksgiving break quickly approaching, all students understand how hard it is to remain in a classroom even when the weather isn’t as breathtaking as it has been. When asked if she felt the need to break out of the classroom, Vargas replied, “Yes!  I would rather be outside enjoying the scenery and the leaves and the weather than be cooped up in a classroom any day.”

Monsters, Vampires, Zombies Oh My!

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP/The Loop) — Most college students put in a monster study session or two. Marina Levina’s students get to spend sessions studying monsters.

The course, “Film Topics: Monster Movies,” at the University of California, Berkeley, is one of a number around the country that mix scares and scholarship, using zombies, vampires and other ogres to study popular culture.

And, no, it’s not a frightfully easy course, says Levina.

“For a lay person, I suppose it does sound like, What? Do you watch horror films all day?” she says. “But it’s a really tough class. Students don’t automatically do well in it because it does involve a lot of serious theory.”

The class, an elective open to mass communication/media studies majors, has space for 50 students and fills up quickly. Students watch monster films and write about what the creatures represent. They also make their own monster films as a final project.

As Halloween approached, the class was studying zombies, looking at the horrors they have represented.

In the 1980s, for instance, zombies personified mindless consumerism. After the Sept. 11 attacks, the raging undead represent “this post-apocalyptic nightmare where we lose control,” Levina says.

Not the most attractive characters, zombies mostly want to destroy humanity and have developed disturbing eating habits — they picked up a taste for brains in 1984’s “Return of the Living Dead.”

See what else the student’s from Berkeley had to say about zombies here!

Vampires, on the other hand, are “sexy and hot, they are those things that we would like to be ourselves but can’t be,” says Levina.

Students find the gore curriculum thought provoking.

“It’s my favorite class, even though it is theory heavy,” said Azeta Hatef, one of Levina’s students.

Maureen Grzan was intrigued by a segment on female werewolves; it turns out they’re not all hairy guys. For her class project, she’s been inspired to take a different look at another legend, reworking “Hansel and Gretel” — this time, the children are evil.

There’s more than monsters to Levina, who teaches an introductory course on media studies as well as one on visual media. In class, she examines zombies as a proxy for viruses, drawing on her specialty in the critical study of science and technology.

At Columbia College Chicago, Brendan Riley teaches a class exclusively on the zombie zeitgeist, starting with movies of the 1930s.

His media studies class, taught in an intensive January session, meets for several hours each day and enrollment usually takes a few rounds. Eager students sign up, get his e-mail about the amount of writing and then back out, making room for more.

Zombies are scary because “they are human and not human at the same time,” Riley says. “Freud calls that the ‘uncanny.’ We’re always afraid of losing control.”

At Middle Tennessee State University, English professor David Lavery focuses on a late-1990s incarnation of vampires — the TV series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” that follows the adventures of a young woman chosen to fight evil.

Vampires can be used to look at various disciplines, from philosophy to literature to pop culture, says Lavery, who uses the TV series in his graduate courses and also teaches an undergraduate “Buffy” class as an elective in English.

“They relate better so often to these things than they do to ‘King Lear,’ and as a result I think they’re more engaged,” he says. “I want them to read ‘King Lear,’ and I want them to be engaged with that, too, but you’ve got to get them hooked first.”

Some students sign up thinking they’re going to get an easy A and then find out “they actually have to read and write.”

“That,” he says with a laugh, “is the ultimate horror.”

DJ’s Get Taste of Live Air Time

By: Cody Mohon

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.- (The Loop) Homecoming week 2009 was indeed a “super” homecoming. The campus was busy with lip-syncing competitions and three legged races. Students were shoveling down free food and enjoying the golf cart parade through campus. While all this was going on outside, the DJ’s for The Perch, UTC’s first student run, web based station, were making history in their new studio on the first floor of the UC. Homecoming week 2009 was the first time these DJ’s were broadcasting live to the entire campus.

Station manager Krista Ashton and DJ Eric Bruno-Arimura hard at work in the studio during Homecoming 2009.

Station manager Krista Ashton and DJ Eric Bruno-Arimura hard at work in the studio during Homecoming 2009.

The Perch, which only began broadcasting last spring under the watchful eye of faculty advisor Nicole Brown, took a giant leap when all of the DJ’s were allowed to host or co-host the station Monday, Thursday, and Friday of Homecoming week from noon until 4 p.m.

Freshman Eric Bruno-Arimura, who became a member of The Perch only a few days before the live broadcast, thought that homecoming week was a rush. “The first time we went live I was really, really nervous, like I could feel my heart pounding in my chest. At the same time, I was excited to be starting something new and getting the full on experience as soon as I started.” View Eric Bruno-Arimura’s Perch Bio here!

DJ Peyton Rudolph co-hosts with Chatrice Barnes during Homecoming 2009.

DJ Peyton Rudolph co-hosts with Chatrice Barnes during Homecoming 2009.

Junior Peyton Rudolph enjoyed her on-air time as well. “This was my first on-air experience, and I was really nervous going into it. When it came time, I just did what I had been trained to do and hoped it would turn out all right.” View Peyton Rudolph’s Perch Bio here!

Brown had worries as well. She described herself as “antsy” before the broadcast, but as soon as the staff went live she said, “By noon on Monday I was thrilled. I was excited they got to experience what I did.” To view Professor Nicole Brown’s Perch Bio click here!

Rudolph also believed that this exciting event helped The Perch staff grow closer and gain respect for their station. “I am very pleased with The Perch staff as a whole. I think we came through the experience with a better understanding of our station, a greater sense of camaraderie, and we added to the excitement of Homecoming 2009.”

Faculty Advisor Nicole Brown got in some air time with DJ Olivia Bradley during Homecoming 2009.

Faculty Advisor Nicole Brown got in some air time with DJ Olivia Bradley during Homecoming 2009.

It seems to Bruno-Arimura that live on-air time actually helped him with other aspects of The Perch. “Since that was my first week with the station, I got “thrown under the bus” as Professor Brown would say. However, now all the pressure has been taken off and recording liners seems really simple.”

Now that all that nervous excitement has passed, the DJ’s are recording their daily liners and waiting for their next chance to take over the mike. An itch to be on air has taken over the staff of The Perch, however Brown thinks they might have to put on the brakes. “In the future, yes, we may go live again, but I am hesitant because we have other things to focus on. That on air time was my gift to the staff.”

When asked if he would be interested in taking over the mike again anytime soon, Bruno-Arimura said, “I would love to do it again! Especially for like an actual radio show, even if it was every morning from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m.!”

Hear the DJ’s everyday on The Perch during these time slots:

  1. Chatrice Barnes 12 a.m. to 3 a.m. Monday-Friday, 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. Saturday-Sunday
  2. Eric Bruno-Arimura 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. Monday-Friday, 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. Saturday-Sunday
  3. Olivia Bradley 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. Monday-Friday, 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. Saturday-Sunday
  4. Alex Cooze 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Monday-Friday, 12 a.m. to 3 a.m. Saturday-Sunday
  5. Cody Mohon 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday-Sunday
  6. Peyton Rudolph 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday-Sunday
  7. Zach Bell 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Friday, 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday-Sunday
  8. Paige Steck 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. Monday-Friday, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday

To view The Perch’s website and listen click here now!

Paige Steck takes over the mic for her first time during Homecoming Week 2009.

Paige Steck takes over the mic for her first time during Homecoming Week 2009.

Swift Without Interruption

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/The Loop) — Taylor Swift will have the stage to herself next month — with no interruptions — when she hosts “Saturday Night Live.”

The only question is: Who will play Kanye West?

Last month, West hijacked Swift’s acceptance speech after she became the first country star to win best female video at the MTV Video Music Awards. West grabbed the microphone and declared that Beyonce’s nominated video for “Single Ladies” was one of the “best videos of all time.”

“I’ve been thinking about skit ideas for a long time,” the 19-year-old Swift said. “There are definitely some hilarious things that have happened to me over the past couple of months that I think will be pretty substantial skits.”

Swift called the chance to host on Nov. 7 “mind-blowing” and says it’s been difficult to keep it a secret since producers asked her during the summer. She said she loved her experience in January when she was a musical guest, and will again perform when she hosts.

Watch Taylor heat up the stage here!

“I love being around people who I feel have a different kind of creative genius,” said Swift. “And the funny genius is definitely a fascinating one to be around.”

Swift joins a group of artists who have pulled double duty on the show, including Justin Timberlake, Sting and Janet Jackson.

Like Timberlake, Swift hopes to collaborate with cast member Andy Samberg on a digital short music video.

Check out what all the fuss is with Adam Samberg in his music video Ras Trent.

“Of course I’ve been such a fan for a long time, but I’ve gone back and re-watched everything over the past couple of months and digital shorts would be so much fun to do, because they’ve been done so well. Andy Samberg is hilarious.”

In addition to “SNL,” Swift is keeping busy since finishing the first leg of her “Fearless” tour over the weekend. She will perform on “Dancing With the Stars” Oct. 27.

“Fearless” has sold more than 4 million copies. Listen to “Fearless” on Taylor Swift’s myspace.

Her career record sales now top 10 million albums and 20 million paid song downloads.

She has been nominated for four CMA Awards, including Entertainer of the Year, the youngest artist in history to be honored. She has had five No. 1 singles on country charts and two consecutive No. 1 songs on the pop charts.


Hair for Sale?

CHICAGO (AP/The Loop) — The King may be dead, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to run your fingers through his hair.

A Chicago auction house is putting a clump of what it says is Elvis Presley’s hair up for auction — along with some of his clothes, sweat-stained scarves and memorabilia. The auction will be held at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers on Sunday.

Presley may have lost the hair when he got his Army-issue crewcut when he went into the service in 1958. The auction house says another collector with hair Presley lost to an Army barber has checked the hair out and it matches what he has.

The auction house says it isn’t clear how much the hair will go for, but that another clump of the King’s hair sold at auction in 2002 for $115,000.

Woman Loses Children a Second Time

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/The Loop) — A newborn boy abducted by a woman posing as an immigration agent was again taken from his mother after a brief reunion, this time by state officials who said the baby and his three siblings would be safest with foster parents.

Rob Johnson, a spokesman for the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, said the children were taken from their mother, Maria Gurrolla, “purely for safety reasons,” though he would not detail why they were in danger.

Johnson said officials made arrangements for Gurrolla to see her baby Saturday afternoon and hold him, four days after he was abducted. She brought her three other children — ages 3, 9 and 11 — to the reunion and all of the children were then taken into custody. Johnson, who said he could not discuss details of the situation for privacy reasons, said a judge would review the case next week to determine when the children can go home.

Joel Siskovic, an FBI special agent in the Memphis division, said there was no indication of an ongoing threat to the family. He could not say why the children were put into state custody.

Gurrolla, 30, was stabbed in her home Tuesday during the kidnapping, just four days after giving birth to Yair Anthony Carillo.

Want more details? See related story Tenn. Woman Finally Reunited With Children.

Tenn. Woman Finally Reunited With Children

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/The Loop) — A mother will be reunited with her newborn son after losing him twice, first to a kidnapper and then to state custody after someone claimed a family member had tried to sell him.

Infant Yair Anthony Carillo is no longer in state custody and authorities do not believe parents Maria Gurrolla and Jose Carillo were involved in the abduction, the Department of Children’s Services and Nashville police said Tuesday.

Maria Gurrolla lost custody of Yair and his three siblings after the baby was found safe in Alabama. Two officials familiar with the case, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it, said the state took the children after someone claimed a family member had tried to sell the baby.

Thomas Miller, an attorney appointed to represent the children, told The Associated Press that police informed child welfare officials Tuesday they had “cleared the parents of any wrongdoing.”

“The kids will be returned as soon as logistically possible,” Miller said.

Gurrolla and Carillo could not immediately be located for comment.

The baby was found Friday, three days after he was abducted during a Sept. 29 knife attack on his mother in her home. Gurrolla was briefly reunited with the infant Saturday before Children’s Services put him and his siblings, ages 3, 9 and 11, in foster care for their safety. Department officials have declined to be more specific, citing privacy concerns for the family.

Tammy Renee Silas, 39, of Ardmore, Ala., was charged with kidnapping after authorities said they found the baby unharmed at her home about 80 miles south of Nashville.

Silas has not been charged in the attack on Gurrolla, who was stabbed several times and had a collapsed lung.

The police statement says “significant unanswered questions remain” in the case, including why Gurrolla and her infant were targeted.

Gurrolla told investigators that after she was stabbed, the attacker made a phone call and said in Spanish “The job is done” and the mother “was dying,” according to court documents.

Silas, who remained in custody Tuesday, waived an initial hearing and has not yet appeared in court. She has given a statement to investigators, according to Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Kristin Helm, who declined to detail what she said.

Gurrolla told investigators she had never seen the woman who stabbed her. According to the arrest warrant, Gurrolla was targeted while she and a cousin, identified only as “JS,” were running errands and visiting a state food assistance office.

A car that police said Silas rented was seen on a surveillance video following Gurrolla before the attack, and the car rental information led police to her home.

Police have not released a motive, but Silas’ live-in boyfriend, Martin Rodriguez, told The Associated Press that she said she could not have children and wanted to adopt a child from a relative in Texas who was going to jail.

See related story Woman Loses Children a Second Time.

Patten Performances Directed At All Students

By: Cody Mohon

CHATTANOOGA (UTC/The Loop)- Whoever still believes the arts to be stuffy has clearly not been to the Patten Performances at UTC. Robert Boyer, the programmer for the Patten Performances, has been on the job for five years, and he says, “People around town are saying it’s going to be one of our best and most eclectic years.” With performances ranging from Japanese drumming to Romeo and Juliet, Boyer guarantees top-notch entertainment. The performances this year are:

Patten Series 30th Anniversary Season

“The Patten Performances are a showcase for the university. I program it in a way to show the community what’s possible,” Boyer said. Boyer believes in bringing in acts that encourage people to think outside the box or take on another viewpoint. He does this to attract students, but he found a way to still hold the attention of older generations as well. “I am very lucky to have a crowd of people who are 50 and up who are very adventurous. They have proved to me through their purchases of tickets this year that they are indeed interested in more innovative shows.”

The Patten Performances, which began in 1980 as the Dorothy Patten Performing Arts Series, was named after Chattanooga’s most famous Broadway actress. The proposal written in 1980 said the “firm intent of UTC is to present an eclectic series of performers of national reputation and superior talents…” Each year since then has done just that. View previous Patten Perfomance Series here. Now, the series has expanded to allow students the chance to interact with these artists through workshops and master classes on the day before the performance.

Although not all UTC students can interact with the performers, there is still an eagerness to attend the Patten Performances. Junior Krista Ashton, a Marketing major, still believes it is vital to have an outstanding arts series on campus. “Just because we aren’t majoring in the arts doesn’t mean we don’t still enjoy going to performances. I went to several last year, and I consider them money and time well spent.”

Despite the fact that the talent brought in for this series includes Emmy and Grammy Award winning performers, tickets for students still average about the price of a movie ticket. “We are on the east end of campus and some students don’t know we are here. All of us in the Fine Arts Center are making an effort to say this is still a cool place to come” Boyer said. He encourages students to come out to performances to enjoy something new and different. According to Boyer, the Roland Hayes Concert Hall, where all the performances take place, contributes to the experience. “The audience responds quickly and loudly, and there is a certain energy about that stage that every performer and audience member just love.”

When asked why students should take advantage of the Patten Performances, Boyer says, “The argument I made to my children, both of whom graduated from UTC, is that if nothing else, it’s a different way of thinking. You are exposed to something for one night, it’s a public performance and you are in the midst of other people. So it’s not just about the performances, like when you watch a DVD. There is an interaction not only between you and the performer, but you and the audience and the performer. There is something about experiencing something like that as a collective that is very life affirming. Also, it’s a heck of a way to spend a couple hours.”

Learn more about the Patten Series by clicking here!

Ancient Roman Revolving Restaurant

ROME (AP/The Loop) — Not only was Nero a Roman emperor, it turns out he may also have been the father of the revolving restaurant.

Inside Nero's Golden Palace where the rotating banquet hall was discovered.

Inside Nero's Golden Palace where the rotating banquet hall was discovered.

Archaeologists unveiled Tuesday what they think are the remains of Nero’s extravagant banquet hall, a circular space that rotated day and night to imitate the Earth’s movement and impress his guests.

The room, part of Nero’s Golden Palace, a sprawling residence built in the first century A.D., is thought to have been built to entertain government officials and VIPs, said lead archaeologist Francoise Villedieu.

The emperor, known for his lavish and depraved lifestyle, ruled from 37 A.D. to 68 A.D.

The dig so far has turned up the foundations of the room, the rotating mechanism underneath and part of an attached space believed to be the kitchens, she said.

“This cannot be compared to anything that we know of in ancient Roman architecture,” Villedieu told reporters during a tour of the cordoned-off dig.

She said the location of the discovery atop the Palatine Hill, the rotating structure and references to it in ancient biographies of Nero make the attribution to the emperor most likely.

The partially excavated site is part of the sumptuous residence, also known by its Latin name Domus Aurea, which rose over the ruins of a fire that destroyed much of Rome in A.D. 64.

The purported main dining room, with a diameter of over 50 feet (16 meters), rested upon a 13-foot (4-meter) wide pillar and four spherical mechanisms that, likely powered by a constant flow of water, rotated the structure.

The discovery was made during routine maintenance of the fragile Palatine area, officials said.

Latin biographer and historian Suetonius, who chronicled his times and wrote the biographies of 12 Roman rulers, refers to a main dining room that revolved “day and night, in time with the sky.”

Angelo Bottini, the state’s top official for archaeology in Rome, said the ceiling of the rotating room might have been the one mentioned by Suetonius, who wrote of ivory panels sliding back and forth to shower flowers and perfumes on the guests below.

“The heart of every activity in ancient Rome was the banquet, together with some form of entertainment,” Bottini said at the dig. “Nero was like the sun, and people were revolving around the emperor.”

That part of the palace — which sprawled across nearly 200 acres (80 hectares) occupying parts of four out of Rome’s seven ancient hills — offered a panoramic view over the Roman Forum and a lake, later drained by Nero’s successors to build the Colosseum, Bottini said.

A bust of Nero, said to be Rome's cruelest ruler, who used the rotating banquet hall to impress his guests.

A bust of Nero, said to be Rome's cruelest ruler, who used the rotating banquet hall to impress his guests.

Described by Suetonius as one of Rome’s most cruel, depraved and megalomaniac rulers, Nero often indulged in orgies and, fancying himself an artist, entertained guests with his own performances of poetry and songs.

However, Nero did not enjoy the frescoed halls and gold-encrusted ceilings of his Golden Palace for too long. It was completed in A.D. 68 — the year the unpopular emperor committed suicide amid a revolt.