Skip to comments.Spain destroys lost Roman city for a car park
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 towns 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
They pave paradise and put up a parking lot.
Thank god he got rid of that 2000+ year old architecture. What an eyesore that would have been.
Didn't we just hear something very similar last week about keeping illegals so congress would have well maintained golf courses?
Dead Italians don't vote, living Spaniards with cars do.
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.
Ah, the Punic Curse! Roman civilization is defeated by the Philistines.
Simply barbaric. No other way to describe this travesty.
Isn't Socialism grand?
Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you got till it's gone.
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
Especially the Lower Nine.
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."
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.
What the hell does that have to do with this thread
Thats how it is Spain.
If you have never been there, then you will have no idea how it is run.
My mother was attacked, raped and left for dead there in her home, in a village called Competa in Andalucia in 1996, at the age of 80, by some local animal that had been let out of jail early for a previous murder.
What did the Police/Guardia do about it. Zip. Local 'developer' moved in and took her land for a pittance to built a set of 'fincas' for tourists to buy.
Yup, I really like the Spanish way of life.
Why nothing of course!
It appears to be a game to post an immigration statement on every thread on FR these days. About time someone did something to stop it
Not to be contrary, but I believe that may be an overstatement. I believe there is abundant records of the Romans life in Italy as well as archaeological sites
If there is any value in the Spanish site , it would be how Roman culture impacted the Spanish culture.
It seems the Spanish politicians don't really care about what happened in the past.
Not this means much, but I have several coins from different eras of the Roman Empire. Net value? About ten bucks.
Well, cars do need parking spaces. And if you've gone to one ancient Roman, "museum" you really don't need to see more. I mean, what's with all of those pots and urns and stuff?! Sheesh. Must be a slow news day.
No, I think these were buried ruins.. not paradise.
It's have been nice if they had saved them though.
Apparently they aren't letting Roman culture impact the Spanish culture anymore.
Can you blame them?
Let the muslims have spain. It is a nation of cowards and traitors.
"They pave paradise and put up a parking lot."
My first reaction was that song line too.
You dont know what you've got 'til its gone.
I think the key thing here is that it should have been fully excavated before the decision was made to trash it. I can understand the Mayor and CC not wanting an excavation in the town square for decades, but a realistic timeframe would probably have led to an economic bonanze in the area as well as giving us a chance to look for key info.
After all, think of how many of the key wars and intrigures started in or centred around SPain. Their records of Carthaginian contacts alone would be interesting since they had the most direct contacts (As major colonies) with them for a long time other than Sicily.
Bottom line is, if we excavate and it turns out to be a unique wonder of the ancient world, keep it.
If it isn't unique, retrieve everthing that can be grabbed, then pave it.
Sending the dozers in without proper excavation to ensure you get to park your cars faster is an act of wanton vandalism the Taliban would have admired.
Exactly... let the archeologists do their work, THEN pave it over.
Or leave it as a tourist attraction and put up a parking garage somewhere else.
Yup. Just like Northern Virginia and Civil War battlefields. In any showdown between a strip mall and a battlefield, the mall will wins hands down. After all, there are some folks in Northern Virginia who still live more than 1/2 mile from a mall, so progress must be served.
There is nothing more beautiful in this world than a parking lot. It speaks of efficiency, it tells that people are not willing to waste time on slow and inefficient self-transportation.
"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."
Made me think of this:
In Florida, workers discovered the remains of an ancient city while digging a canal between Lake Dora and Lake Eustis. The city exists far below sea level and was reported in Scientific American. Ref. 1, pp. 8384
Corruption makes the world go 'round.
The undergound (therefore covered) parking is how far from city hall?
Not to worry. A hundred years from now, they'll tear up the pavement and find the Roman town again.
"There is nothing more beautiful in this world than a parking lot."
Yep. People travel all over the World to photograph them.
To a socialist, there is no past, only tomorow. What was thao old Communist saying? The future is known, the past is always changing.
Are you talking as in monkey's or migrant Frenchmen?
This is nuts!
Monkees, babboons and apes, The non-human variety....wait a sec, that doesn't help...er...ah...the ones that don't drink and whine.