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‘Exceptional’ Spanish archaeological gem destroyed in raid

January 3, 2012

Having just posted about the spectacular ancient mosaics one finds in Israel, it’s sickening to read this article from the the Daily Mail about the vandalization  of ancient Roman mosaics in Spain, accompanied by this heartbreaking image:

An interior view of an archaeological site known as the ‘Villa Romana’ in Banos de Valdearados town in Burgos, central Spain, 29 December 2011. Several scenes of a Roman mosaic dated back from the 4th century A.D. dedicated to the god Bacchus and with special artistic and historical value have been stolen from the site, which lacks of 24-hour surveillance, council sources informed on 28 December. EPA/PACO SANTAMARIA

Here’s a site that managed to survive for more than 1,600 years only to be unmercifully chopped up. As noted below, there are far too many sites to monitor and protect and far too few resources with which to protect them:

The director general of the regional heritage department, Enrique Saiz, notes that with 23,000 archaeological sites and 150 cultural assets scattered across the territory, it is impossible to keep an eye on them all.

Meanwhile, a technical report has been commissioned to see how similar crimes can be prevented in future. Mr Saiz warns about a rise in attacks against the country’s artistic heritage.

‘The means used here were clumsy. We are used to things happening inside churches, where it is possible to spirit away an item, but to show up with picks and rip off a slab of floor…’

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