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The unsuspected size of the Roman city of Flaviaugusta comes to light


The archaeological reports detail the existence of houses, streets, necropolis, squares, walls and public buildings under the Burgos municipality of Poza de la Sal

Computer reconstruction of the remains detected in the city of Flaviaugusta in Poza de la Sal (Burgos). Cerro Milagro Project

The workers and the heavy machinery that accompanied them arrived in the small town of Poza de la Sal in Burgos in September 1928, the year in which a few months earlier, in March, the renowned naturalist and documentarian Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente had been born there. The town, located about 50 kilometers from the capital of the province, then had about 1,700 inhabitants (now there are 274). The intention of that troop was to build the railway line that would link Santander with the Mediterranean (and that was never finished). As they opened up the terrain, they came across huge stone structures that prevented them from moving forward. The Burgos archaeologist Julio Martínez Santa-Olalla, then a student, watched helplessly as the workers destroyed the foundations of the buildings and urban elements that they encountered. The young man,Aided by a parish priest and other people, he managed to rescue pieces that today can be seen in museums such as Burgos. Now, after almost a century and after three years of magnetic surveys, orthophotography, three-dimensional geo-radar analysis and the use of LiDAR laser technology, the team led by the archaeologist Esperanza Martín has located in that place the great Roman city of Flaviaugusta, which lived its splendor between the 1st and 4th centuries. Its structures survive amazingly close to the surface. The excavation of the city is scheduled for next September.The team led by the archaeologist Esperanza Martín has located in this place the great Roman city of Flaviaugusta, which experienced its splendor between the 1st and 4th centuries. Its structures survive amazingly close to the surface. The excavation of the city is scheduled for next September.The team led by the archaeologist Esperanza Martín has located in this place the great Roman city of Flaviaugusta, which experienced its splendor between the 1st and 4th centuries. Its structures survive amazingly close to the surface. The excavation of the city is scheduled for next September.

More information

  • The second secret of Fuente Obejuna

Santa-Olalla, who became the great factotum of national archeology during the Franco regime, wrote a report with his


: a necropolis with hundreds of stelae in the shape of a house, "unique of this kind found in the Roman Empire", streets , industrial facilities, a forum and public and private buildings… Now, the technical report

In search of Flaviaugusta.

Campaign 2020

solves the enigmas that then assaulted the young student.

Destruction of the buildings in Flaviaugusta in 1928 by the railway line, Cerro Milagro Project

The first testimony of this Roman city with indigenous roots - it was founded in autrigón territory, next to the site identified with Salionka - was from the Venetian writer and ambassador Andrea Navagero during a trip that he made accompanying Carlos V in 1528: “Find there some ancient stones with inscriptions and you can see part of the walls of an ancient temple still standing, and an inscription is still discovered indicating that the temple and the inscription were dedicated to a god named Suttunio ”. The place was known in the region as Cerro del Milagro.

After two centuries of silence, in 1749, on the occasion of the construction of an inn and a hermitage, the site served as a quarry for the municipality.

But it allowed the Jesuit epigraphist Fidel Fita to read the inscriptions removed more than a century later and "to locate in Poza the place where the Flaviaugusta was, mentioned by the Greek geographer Claudio Ptolomeo," as he wrote, although in reality of what had spoken the Greek geographer was from the Celtic Salionka.

Celtic stele found in the necropolis of Poza de la Sal (Burgos). Cerro Milagro Project

In 2018 - with funding from the Diputación de Burgos, the help of the Poza City Council, Adif and the disinterested cooperation of the landowners - a research program began that includes prospecting the environment, but also the digital recreation of the pieces. that have been found in the last century. On the web, you can already see, among other objects, a marble inscription, a crest and an arm of a bronze sculpture, as well as some



(in the shape of a house).

The experts' report, which details the results taken by means of georadar last year on some 15,600 square meters of land, discovers "a first surface level [about 30 centimeters deep] with a certain degree of alteration, probably due to agricultural use." However, despite being a very plowed area, "small anomalies that are surely remains of buildings" can still be distinguished on computer screens. If the magnetic waves penetrate deeper, “clusters of hyperbolas [symmetrical curves in opposite directions] are detected that have been interpreted as constructions or walls of buildings or structures”, and that include “urban planning areas and large buildings that, they even have column bases ”.There are also "areas without anomalies that could correspond to open spaces or possible streets." That is to say, the fabric of a city.

Laboratory where the objects found in the Poza de la Sal deposit (Burgos) are analyzed. Cerro Milagro Project

Depending on the area analyzed, the results of the electromagnetic or laser equipment differ, the same as would happen in any modern city.

In one of the plots, for example, just 40 centimeters away, "two massive structures with great amplitude of reflection have been detected," which are interpreted "as the floors of a possible hot spring.

In the rest of the area, there are small walls of buildings with regular shapes ”.

Remote sensing (use of scanners) at the site has made it possible to locate more columns, buildings, remains of pavements, streets and walls.

"There are areas of great signal amplitude with large bodies that present a certain dip [inclination] and reflections" and a "possible wall of large dimensions".

In fact, the surveys undertaken have allowed the recovery of samples of



: Celtiberian and indigenous ceramics, adobes, knives, weapons, sling projectiles, and stone marbles.

And also Roman: luxury and kitchen tableware, numerary of the Constantinian dynasty, amphoras, sculptures, nails, bronze stamps ...

It is known that the Romans settled on land occupied since the end of the Iron Age (five centuries before our Era) and that they developed their city there, with a necropolis located to the north and organized in parallel streets.

Although during the Middle Ages its stone elements were used to build a hermitage, archaeologists have concluded that "the sarcophagi [of the necropolis] were aligned forming perpendicular streets in front of a temple

in antis

[with columns], which gave it access" .

In many cases, the sarcophagi were covered by bricks and strong mortar ”, with which they formed covers on two carved slopes, creating a kind of small houses with a front hole or door.

Geophysical prospecting work at the Flaviaugusta deposit Cerro Milagro Project

Thus these stelae were placed directly on the floor of the necropolis, sheltering a hole in which the ashes of the deceased are deposited. "Such stelae in the form of houses constitute a great singularity, and the necropolis of Poza de la Sal is an admirable example for the variety and enormous quantity of such monuments," archaeologists maintain. In any case, "not all the stelae, which would surely exceed three hundred, appeared

in situ

when they were found [in 1928], because in the Middle Ages a series of walls were built with them", recalls the study.

All the preserved ones have a rectangular plan and gabled roof and are decorated on their main façade, where symbols or epigraphs are distinguished, and which were already studied in the 1970s by the archaeologists of the University of Valladolid José Antonio Abásolo, María Lourdes Albertos and Juan Carlos Elorza.

Aerial photo of Cerro del Milagro, in Poza de la Sal Project Cerro Milagro

These stelae are a unique case that reveals an idiosyncrasy typical of the Autrigón group, which the Roman people assimilated and continued to use after the conquest.

The use of solar discs and other astral decorations has allowed different researchers to assume a Celtic influence.

In September, the interdisciplinary team formed by Esperanza Martín, Manuel Gil (documentary filmmaker), Javier Vallés Iriso and Irene Ortiz (geophysicists from the Complutense University), Zoilo Perrino Díez (engineer specialized in heritage), Txerra Pérez (geologist), Bárbara Güimil ( restorer), Samuel Lahoz Morón and other specialists will try to restore light to a Roman city next to an autrigón hill, whose extension is unknown - less than a third of the land has been studied - but which has a necropolis of sarcophagi and stelae " unique in the Roman world ”, with which some workers who wanted to open a railway line almost a century ago met.

Source: elparis

All life articles on 2021-05-17

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