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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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To: mtbopfuyn

What the hell does that have to do with this thread


21 posted on 04/30/2006 4:59:27 PM PDT by Mo1 (DEMOCRATS: A CULTURE OF TREASON)
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To: gd124

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.


22 posted on 04/30/2006 5:00:30 PM PDT by 5050 no line
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To: Mo1
What the hell does that have to do with this thread

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

23 posted on 04/30/2006 5:02:42 PM PDT by Vermonter
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To: America's Resolve
There are not all that many records of what the Romans were like, let alone actual physical artifacts.

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.

24 posted on 04/30/2006 5:03:08 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

Not this means much, but I have several coins from different eras of the Roman Empire. Net value? About ten bucks.


25 posted on 04/30/2006 5:05:41 PM PDT by soupcon
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To: gd124
The rest will be space for 299 cars.

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.

26 posted on 04/30/2006 5:06:29 PM PDT by ExtremeUnction
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To: gd124
it predated islam and therefore had to be destroyed.
27 posted on 04/30/2006 5:08:55 PM PDT by CzarNicky (The problem with bad ideas is that they seemed like good ideas at the time.)
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To: rightwingintelligentsia
They pave paradise and put up a parking lot.

No, I think these were buried ruins.. not paradise.

It's have been nice if they had saved them though.

28 posted on 04/30/2006 5:09:44 PM PDT by humblegunner (If you're gonna die, die with your boots on.)
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To: Popman
If there is any value in the Spanish site , it would be how Roman culture impacted the Spanish culture.

Apparently they aren't letting Roman culture impact the Spanish culture anymore.

29 posted on 04/30/2006 5:10:49 PM PDT by ordinaryguy
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To: ordinaryguy
Apparently they aren't letting Roman culture impact the Spanish culture anymore.

Can you blame them?

30 posted on 04/30/2006 5:14:01 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

Let the muslims have spain. It is a nation of cowards and traitors.


31 posted on 04/30/2006 5:23:52 PM PDT by jimbo123
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To: gd124
I don't know. This "socialist council" as they called it seems more akin to the Tali ban in their barbaric destruction of antiquities.
32 posted on 04/30/2006 5:38:26 PM PDT by isrul
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To: rightwingintelligentsia

"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.


33 posted on 04/30/2006 5:42:44 PM PDT by WOSG (http://freedomstruth.blogspot.com/)
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To: Popman

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.


34 posted on 04/30/2006 5:51:08 PM PDT by Androcles (All your typos are belong to us)
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To: Androcles

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.


35 posted on 04/30/2006 6:01:43 PM PDT by montanus
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To: gd124
I guess local governments the same everywhere.

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.

36 posted on 04/30/2006 6:11:00 PM PDT by sphinx
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To: gd124

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.


37 posted on 04/30/2006 6:12:12 PM PDT by AmishDude (AmishDude, servant of the dark lord Xenu.)
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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."

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


38 posted on 04/30/2006 6:26:40 PM PDT by PioneerDrive (cursing the darkness)
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To: gd124

Corruption makes the world go 'round.


39 posted on 04/30/2006 6:33:55 PM PDT by Mad_Tom_Rackham (Every vote for a Democrat is a vote for $10/gallon gas.)
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To: gd124

The undergound (therefore covered) parking is how far from city hall?


40 posted on 04/30/2006 6:37:43 PM PDT by razorback-bert (Kooks For Kinky)
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To: gd124

Not to worry. A hundred years from now, they'll tear up the pavement and find the Roman town again.


41 posted on 04/30/2006 6:40:27 PM PDT by popdonnelly
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To: AmishDude

"There is nothing more beautiful in this world than a parking lot."

Yep. People travel all over the World to photograph them.


42 posted on 04/30/2006 6:42:09 PM PDT by popdonnelly
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To: xcamel
Isn't Socialism grand?

To a socialist, there is no past, only tomorow. What was thao old Communist saying? The future is known, the past is always changing.

43 posted on 04/30/2006 6:46:10 PM PDT by Mad_Tom_Rackham (Every vote for a Democrat is a vote for $10/gallon gas.)
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To: gd124
Gotta park those SEATS somewhere!


44 posted on 04/30/2006 6:50:47 PM PDT by Revolting cat! ("In the end, nothing explains anything.")
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To: gd124
Did the Romans ever create anything as beautiful, history making, and lasting as this?!


45 posted on 04/30/2006 6:53:32 PM PDT by Revolting cat! ("In the end, nothing explains anything.")
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To: CWOJackson
The way things are going in Spain, apes may be voting as well. They are now giving "human rights" to apes...can voting be far behind?

But on the good side, Generalissimo Franco is still dead.
46 posted on 04/30/2006 7:01:35 PM PDT by Roccus
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To: Roccus

Are you talking as in monkey's or migrant Frenchmen?


47 posted on 04/30/2006 7:03:06 PM PDT by CWOJackson
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To: gd124

This is nuts!


48 posted on 04/30/2006 7:03:48 PM PDT by Bogie
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To: gd124

Barbarians-R-Us!


49 posted on 04/30/2006 7:04:42 PM PDT by Revolting cat! ("In the end, nothing explains anything.")
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To: CWOJackson

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.


50 posted on 04/30/2006 7:06:38 PM PDT by Roccus
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