On the orientation of Roman cities in Hispania: preliminary results

González-García, A. C.; Rodríguez-Antón, A.; Belmonte, J. A.
Bibliographical reference

Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, Vol. 14, Nº3, 107-119.

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Despite the fact that ancient writings indicate a clear necessity to orient Roman towns according to the path of the sun (Hyginus Gromatius, Constitutio, 1), Le Gall (1975) in an early work made clear that there was no clear preferred orientation pattern. However, Le Gall’s analysis was done by taking into consideration a sparse number of Roman towns from widely different latitudes, ranging from England to Algeria. However, recent re-sults show that when a restricted geographic area is considered, some patterns of orienta-tion do arise (Magli 2008, González-García and Costa-Ferrer 2011). We present the pre-liminary results from a survey to obtain a statistically significant sample of the orienta-tion of Roman cities in Hispania. This region was where the greatest number of cities were founded in the western part of the Roman Empire, both during the Republic and the Empire (Laurence, Esmonde Cleary & Sears, 2011), and it provides a perfect test bed for ideas on the orientation of Roman towns. So far, we have measured 43 Roman settle-ments in Hispania, and we can already verify some of the ideas on how Roman towns were oriented. The orientation of Roman towns in Hispania do seem to follow an astro-nomical pattern, with certain directions perhaps connected to particularly important dates of the Roman calendar.
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