Skip to comments.Italian archaeologists find lost Roman city of Altinum near Venice
Posted on 07/30/2009 8:37:00 PM PDT by bruinbirdman
The bustling harbour of Altinum near Venice was one of the richest cities of the Roman empire. But terrified by the impending invasion of the fearsome Germanic Emperor Attila the Hun, its inhabitants cut their losses and fled in AD452, leaving behind a ghost town of theatres, temples and basilicas.
Altinum was never reoccupied and gradually sunk into the ground. The city lived on in Venetian folk tales and historical artefacts but its exact position, size and wealth gradually faded into obscurity.
Now, using aerial photography of the region, Italian archaeologists have not only located the city, but have produced a detailed map revealing its remarkably intact infrastructure and showing it to be slightly larger than Pompeii.
The abandonment of the city and its subsequent preservation makes it an archaeological time capsule, a unique find in Roman heritage. Its extremely unusual for a town to go out of use like this and that is what makes it absolutely invaluable for achaeologists. It gives a full profile of what the town looked like without the imposition of modern infrastructure, said Dr Neil Christie, a specialist in the Roman empire at the University of Leicester.
The team behind the study located the ancient city by studying hundreds of aerial photographs of the region, mostly taken by private companies for cartography purposes.
In July 2007, during a particularly dry summer, crops were suffering from drought and were highly sensitive to the subsurface presence of stones, bricks or compacted soil. On the image taken by the mapping company Telespazio, the lighter crops indicated stonework, while the darker patches revealed depressed features such as pits and canals.
The team, reconstructing the town using the aerial images and knowledge of Roman architecture, was able to identify temples, theatres, a basilica, the marketplace and city walls as
(Excerpt) Read more at timesonline.co.uk ...
Thanks for posting, very interesting find.
His empire included the area of historical Germany.
GGG Heads up!
Color IR aerial -- probably with shadow-convolution filtering.
About the only thing better for showing occupation patterns might be
a composite of color IR and LIDAR -- or remote GPR...
Thanks for the post, bruinbirdman -- and for the link, La Lydia...
Germania (a region) was contained within the Hunnic Empire. Attila was probably born near what is now Hungary (Get it? Hun... Hungary?).
How is it possible for earth to change mans actions? I thought it was only us that could cause damage to the planet through car use and such?
I don’t even think air conditioning was around to blame..This is amazing.
I’ve had some exposure to spacial analysis using remote sensing data for resource management purposes, and I’ve got to say, if I were a younger man, that’s the technology I’d be jumping in to. Incredible.
What, they leave it as is to test their instruments?
To rephrase a line from the movie “Red October” and address it now to the Italian Ambassador, “You’ve lost a what? A city?” “How did that happen?”
I know where Hungary got its name. But the Huns weren’t from there; they settled there. They were originally from Asia.
Thank you for your sanity. I saw this article and was about to post the same thing you did, when I saw that you had already defended Germania. It is scary how fragile knowledge of the past is.
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old moldy related topic:
A small group of us "Rut Nuts" were just scheming as to how we could get access to a small, LIDAR-equipped 'copter for mapping out things like Trammel's Trace and the "roads" and campsites left by several Spanish military expeditions across Texas...
LIDAR, of course, is "Laser RADAR", which can achieve at least two inch vertical resolution -- and can effectively "see through" an overhead vegetation canopy...
That Altinium image sure looks like LIDAR to me...
Yep -- I've "been into" spatial analysis for archeology (official TX spelling, BTW) for many years.
Here's one of my current projects -- a new State Historical Marker at the only (known) site where Trammel's Trace is visible from a Texas state Highway. (The "marker" is virtual -- CGI that exists only in my computer.)
...and HERE IS a high-res image (with readable inscription) of that scene with the final "virtual" version of the marker -- which is at the foundry, being cast right now...
Meant to include you in the “pingees” to # 19...
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