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2,200-year-old Iberian city discovered in Catalonia

Archaeologists using high-tech equipment have discovered the remnants of an ancient city that is over 2,000 years old.

2,200-year-old Iberian city discovered in Catalonia
GPR survey at the archaeological site in Banyeres del Pened├Ęs, Catalonia
[Credit: Jaume Noguera/Roger Sala (SOT Prospecciones)]
The 14.5sq mile site is considered the largest ancient city in the north-eastern Spanish region of Catalonia.

The former urbanisation was found in the historical area of Penedes, also famed for being a wine-producing region.

According to researchers, the city had around 200 walled enclosures with public squares, towers and a large moat. They also say that it had a "fairly regular road structure".

The survey was carried out by scientists from the University of Barcelona and the Banyeres del Penedes Council.

2,200-year-old Iberian city discovered in Catalonia
Urban structure and defensive system of the Iberian deposit [Credit: UB]
University professors Joan Sanmarti and Jaume Noguera are heading the project alongside Maria Carmen of the Catalan Institute of Classical Archaeology (ICAC).

Experts believe the urbanisation was possibly more important than Ullastret, until now considered the largest ancient city in Catalonia.

A spokesperson told local media: "A large part of the city has a fairly regular road structure set out in a grid system crossed perpendicularly by narrower roads."

Experts believe the former city was used by the Cessetani, an ancient Iberian (pre-Roman) people that are believed to have spoken the Iberian language and even minted their own coins.

Their territory extended along the coast and was limited in the west by the Prades Mountains.

One of their main cities was Tarraco, modern day Tarragona, and the Roman ruins there are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage City.

Tarraco was captured by the Romans in 218 BC after the Battle of Cissa.

Based on the items excavated from the area in the 1980s and 90s, archaeologists believe that the ancient city was in use between the 6th century BC and around 200BC.

Local authorities plan to acquire the land around the site and expand the excavation project.

Banyeres del Penedes Mayor Amadeu Benach said: "This is a great discovery, not just for our borough but for all of Catalonia."

Author: Rory McKeown | Source: Daily Star [July 05, 2018]


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