Roman tower found in Morocco
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The discovery will help to better understand the system of Roman fortifications that were usually built on the outskirts of the empire.
In the city of Volubilis in Morocco, a Polish-Moroccan team of archaeologists discovered a lookout military tower from the Roman Empire. Similar structures have already been found during excavations in Germany, Romania and Scotland, but this happened for the first time in this country, writes Nauka w Polsce.
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Archaeologist Maciej Czapski from the University of Warsaw noted that the new find will help to better understand the system of Roman fortifications built on the outskirts of the empire.
Morocco became part of the Roman Empire around the 40s of the 1st century AD. However, until now it has been isolated not only geographically, but also from a scientific point of view, too.
To find the tower, scientists analyzed satellite images, choosing its location. During the search, they found the southernmost site. Their assumptions were supported by dozens of hours spent in the libraries of London and Rimini. However, nothing guaranteed success.
“We were lucky to start digging in the right place, because a shift of the starting point by 500-600 m would lead to an empty place,” Czapsky said.
He also added that the tower is a significant contribution to the study of the Roman system border fortifications, especially vulnerable to raids.
According to the researcher, archaeologists have found foundations and wall fragments. Their height reaches about 80 cm. An internal staircase and fragments of paving stones were also visible. The outer wall has not survived. Some fragments of weapons and belongings of Roman legionnaires were found on the spot. In particular, historians have discovered spears and nails that fastened Roman sandals.
Now archaeologists are trying to find out the period when this defense system operated in Morocco. So far, it is believed that it functioned between the 1st and 3rd centuries AD, but there is a hypothesis that it was used during the reign of Antoninus Pius. The researchers also noted that they know about the battles in this region. But their scope and results are not well known.
Scientists plan to collect as much data as possible about the relationship between the Roman administration and the local population. The report will also be published soon. And next year, excavations will begin elsewhere.