Thursday, May 04, 2006

Spanish Tragedy

Underneath the main square in Ecija, Spain archeologists found a historical treasure. They found well-persevered bath houses, statues, mosaics, temples and more. They had located the lost city of Colonia Augusta Firma Astigi. The city had a population of 30,000 and ruled the olive oil trade during the time of the Roman Empire. Products from Colonia Augusta Firma Astigi where found as far away as Britain and Rome.

So what did the socialist city council decide to do with this find? They decided to destroy it for an underground car garage. The council’s one concession to scientists was that a small section would be spared to show off to tourists. Shame!

The London Times wrote about this horror which made me sick. Sure they were digging at first for the car garage but keeping the ruins could have been much more advantageous for the city. Archeologists and others would have flooded the area, brining money along with them, to see and study the ruins. Some of the art work could have been donated to museums or sold. There were many historical, economic, and other benefits that have been lost.

Then again this should not be surprising from Spain. The Socialists' motto should be: Monkeys over people, cars over science.

For those wanting to know how exciting archeological discoveries can be I recommend Eyewitness to Discovery. The book has over fifty, first-person accounts by archeologists as they discovery ruins all across the world. It is a great read. I can only picture what Colonia Augusta Firma Astigi's story would be called, probably something like "Lost, Found, Destroyed."

Bias note: I was a tourist participant in an archeological dig of an early-1800s town dump. One of the most interesting things we found was pieces of old dishware. The dishware we found we marked "York." The head scientist told us that dishware from England was popular for those on the outer edges of American civilization. British industries had extremely fast shipping to the hinterlands in order to please their customers. I learned all this from one fragment of a dish and a wise archeologist. Because of this experience I have love of archeology.

Category: Archaeology

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