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Spain destroys lost Roman city for a car park
The Sunday Times ^ | April 30, 2006 | Jon Clarke

Posted on 04/30/2006 4:38:05 PM PDT by gd124

THE archeologists could barely hide their excitement. Beneath the main square of Ecija, a small town in southern Spain, they had unearthed an astounding treasure trove of Roman history.

They discovered a well-preserved Roman forum, bath house, gymnasium and temple as well as dozens of private homes and hundreds of mosaics and statues — one of them considered to be among the finest found.

But now the bulldozers have moved in. The last vestiges of the lost city known as Colonia Augusta Firma Astigi — one of the great cities of the Roman world — have been destroyed to build an underground municipal car park.

Dr Sonia Zakrzewski, a senior lecturer in archeology at Southampton University who has worked on the site, said: “It is a real shock when things like this happen. I am surprised it has gone ahead. There is no doubt this site is of fundamental importance to archeology.”

Much of the site has been hurriedly concreted over: the only minor concession to archeologists and historians, is to leave a tiny section on show for tourists. The rest will be space for 299 cars.

The Roman city has proved to be one of the biggest in the ancient world. Its estimated 30,000 citizens dominated the olive oil industry. Terracotta urns from Ecija have been discovered as far away as Britain and Rome.

The region produced three Roman emperors — Trajan, Theodosius and Hadrian — and the research has shown that Ecija was almost as important in the Roman world as Cordoba and Seville.

The socialist council says that had it not dug up the main square, Plaza de Espana, to build the car park in 1998, the remains would never have been found. But it insists the town must press ahead with the new car park.

“Nonsense,” says the town’s chief archeologist, Antonio Fernandez Ugalde, director of the municipal museum. “For some reason, the politicians here think it is more important to park their own cars. It simply does not make sense.”

But despite opposition from numerous other archeological groups and the Spanish Royal Academy of Art, there is now no possibility of restoring the 2,000-year-old Roman town.

The most exquisite discovery was a statue, known as the Wounded Amazon, modelled on an ancient Greek goddess of war. Only three other such statues are known to exist. The one in Ecija is in by far the best condition with some of its original decorative paint intact.

Juan Wic, the mayor, who is responsible for the car park project, said he was happy to have kept one of his main election pledges. He said it was “essential for the commercial future of the square and city”


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Government
KEYWORDS: ancient; ancientrome; archeology; boudica; britainbeforerome; godsgravesglyphs; iceni; romanempire; rome; spain
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I guess local governments the same everywhere.
1 posted on 04/30/2006 4:38:09 PM PDT by gd124
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To: gd124

They pave paradise and put up a parking lot.


2 posted on 04/30/2006 4:40:28 PM PDT by rightwingintelligentsia (DemonRATs- the CULTURE OF TREASON!)
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To: gd124
What a shame. That happens when the mentally challenged make decisions.
3 posted on 04/30/2006 4:42:17 PM PDT by Dante3
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To: SunkenCiv; blam

AIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEE! Ping.


4 posted on 04/30/2006 4:44:15 PM PDT by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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To: gd124
Juan Wic, the mayor, who is responsible for the car park project, said he was happy to have kept one of his main election pledges. He said it was “essential for the commercial future of the square and city”

Thank god he got rid of that 2000+ year old architecture. What an eyesore that would have been.

5 posted on 04/30/2006 4:44:36 PM PDT by Personal Responsibility (Amnesia is a train of thought.)
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To: gd124
“For some reason, the politicians here think it is more important to park their own cars. It simply does not make sense.”

Didn't we just hear something very similar last week about keeping illegals so congress would have well maintained golf courses?

6 posted on 04/30/2006 4:44:44 PM PDT by mtbopfuyn (I think the border is kind of an artificial barrier - San Antonio councilwoman Patti Radle)
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To: gd124
"Juan Wic, the mayor, who is responsible for the car park project, said he was happy to have kept one of his main election pledges."

Dead Italians don't vote, living Spaniards with cars do.

7 posted on 04/30/2006 4:45:49 PM PDT by CWOJackson
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To: gd124
OK, I'd ask the burning question.

What would we learn from this site that already has not been discovered?

I certainly believe we should preserve ancient sites that would add to our fundamental knowledge of the Roman empire we don't know.

I find it sort of bizarre that people in 4,500 AD would find Tampa, Fl or any other city so interesting as to want to preserve it.

8 posted on 04/30/2006 4:46:04 PM PDT by Popman ("What I was doing wasn't living, it was dying. I really think God had better plans for me.")
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To: gd124

Ah, the Punic Curse! Roman civilization is defeated by the Philistines.


9 posted on 04/30/2006 4:49:34 PM PDT by D.P.Roberts
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To: gd124
"The socialist council says that had it not dug up the main square, Plaza de Espana, to build the car park in 1998, the remains would never have been found. But it insists the town must press ahead with the new car park."
10 posted on 04/30/2006 4:50:25 PM PDT by blam
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To: gd124

Simply barbaric. No other way to describe this travesty.


11 posted on 04/30/2006 4:50:47 PM PDT by America's Resolve (Illegal Amnesty in 86 and 06, so expect more in 2026, 2046, 2066 and 2086. Doom for America!)
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To: gd124

Isn't Socialism grand?


12 posted on 04/30/2006 4:52:22 PM PDT by xcamel (Press to Test, Release to Detonate)
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To: Popman
"I find it sort of bizarre that people in 4,500 AD would find Tampa, Fl or any other city so interesting as to want to preserve it."

2006...New Orleans.

13 posted on 04/30/2006 4:52:22 PM PDT by CWOJackson
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To: gd124

Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you got till it's gone.


14 posted on 04/30/2006 4:54:12 PM PDT by 3catsanadog (When anything goes, everything does.)
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To: gd124

Can you not see the great value and pricelessness of a typical car park? A new car park is surely more valuable and satisfying than the old run of the mill, one of a kind lost city from the Roman Empire. /sarc


15 posted on 04/30/2006 4:54:43 PM PDT by bwc (Big Centralized Government is turning us into just another clone of the European States)
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To: CWOJackson

Especially the Lower Nine.


16 posted on 04/30/2006 4:54:55 PM PDT by rightwinggoth
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To: gd124

My reaction also. I'm sure they posted notice the ancient city would be destroyed, so anyone could object - In an unlit basement behind a door that said "beware of the leopard."


17 posted on 04/30/2006 4:55:23 PM PDT by Williams
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To: Popman
What would we learn from this site that already has not been discovered?

How can we say up front what we'd learn about a dead civilization? That's a kooky premise from the git-go.

We have plenty of records from our civilization. Typing is a lot easier than etching into stone. There are not all that many records of what the Romans were like, let alone actual physical artifacts.

18 posted on 04/30/2006 4:55:39 PM PDT by America's Resolve (Illegal Amnesty in 86 and 06, so expect more in 2026, 2046, 2066 and 2086. Doom for America!)
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To: gd124
Man, they sure are lucky that some priceless Iraqi artifacts weren't harmed!
19 posted on 04/30/2006 4:56:18 PM PDT by HitmanLV ("5 Minute Penalty for #40, Ann Theresa Calvello!" - RIP 1929-2006)
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To: CWOJackson
2006...New Orleans.

Touché

20 posted on 04/30/2006 4:56:53 PM PDT by Popman ("What I was doing wasn't living, it was dying. I really think God had better plans for me.")
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