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Discover This Lost Roman City In The Spanish Pyrenees

TheTravel logo TheTravel 11/6/2022 Aaron Spray
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  • Spain's Newest Lost Roman City - El Forau de la Tuta
  • What Is Known Of The Roman City (& Later Christian Settlement)
  • Location & Setting Of The Lost Roman City

There are stores of lost cities all over the world, and new ones are being rediscovered all the time (like the lost Egyptian city of Heracleion/Thonis that was found submerged in the Mediterranean Sea). There are also many lost Roman-era cities around the Mediterranean basin. One of the most recent major finds was a previously unknown Roman city in the Spanish Pyrenees.

It is apparent that this was a substantial ancient Roman city, but still, no one knows its name. Until the name of the old Roman city is discovered, the city is being called by the old name for the site - El Forau de la Tuta. While it is fascinating to read about long-lost cities, it is typically more rewarding to visit cities with more substantial ruins. Visit the Roman Walls of Lugo in Spain and see a very rare example of Roman walls still almost intact.

Spain's Newest Lost Roman City - El Forau de la Tuta

Researchers from the University of Zaragoza in Aragon, Spain, have just announced a new major find this year in 2022. The researchers set out to study some neglected ruins, but instead, they discovered a previously unknown ancient city. They started their excavations in 2018 and studied ruins around the San Pedro hermitage. The first round of excavations took place in 2021.

  • Period: 1st to 2nd Centuries
  • Name: Unknown

Read the full report, El Forau de la Tuta: A Hitherto Unknown Roman Imperial City on the Southern Slopes of the Pyrenees.

Currently, there are many more questions than answers. Hopefully, there will be subsequent studies that bring more of the city and its tail to life.

Related: Truth Or Legend? 8 Lost Cities That Have Still Not Been Discovered

What Is Known Of The Roman City (& Later Christian Settlement)

The Roman city has been dated to between the 1st and 2nd centuries and had all the hallmarks of a Roman city - like baths, a water supply, urban planning, a temple, streets, and sewers. It is possible the city was larger than is currently known, as the site extends into unexplored agricultural lands. The city was found to be of large dimensions and the “buildings of monumental proportions.”

The study identified two Corinthian capitals, three Italic Attic bases, a classical Attic base, several flat-edged fluted shaft drums, and a fragment of cornice. It is believed that these were early imperial public buildings.

The city was also occupied during the early-medieval Christian era (the 9th to 13th centuries). During that later period, it was a rural community called Artede (or Arteda, Artieda, or Arteda Ciuitate) in the Visigoth and early Andalusian periods.

It was a peasant habitat-type community superimposed on the older Roman settlement. In some places in the world (like the old Roman city of Dara), one can find people living on the ruins of ancient Roman ruins today. Sometimes, the remaining structures of the old monumental buildings are incorporated into villagers' houses.

Related: Where The Lost City Of Vilcabamba Is (And It's Not The Same As Machu Picchu)

Location & Setting Of The Lost Roman City

The long-lost Roman city was once on a road that connected three important Roman cities - Iaca (Jaca, Huesca), Ilumberri (Lumbier, Navarra), and Pompelo (Pamplona, Navarra). Today the route is known as the Camino Real de Ruesta a Mianos (the High Road from Ruesta to Mianos).

The road persisted long after the Romans were gone into the Middle Ages as a pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela (it was a section of the French Route as part of the Camino de Santiago).

The Romans called the Iberian Peninsula Hispania. They ruled parts or all of Spain from around 218 BC to 472 AD - a period of almost 700 years. The Roman Republic established its presence on the eastern coast of Spain early on, and the Romans remained there until the fall of the empire in around 472 AD. There is no shortage of impressive Roman ruins to be found all around Spain and Portugal today.

The Roman presence in Spain was the strongest along the coast, the region that El Forau de la Tuta was a part of would have been controlled for a shorter period. It is located close to the Basque region of Spain.

Archeology can be exciting as more and more is discovered all the time. Who knows how many more lost cities are waiting to be discovered?


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