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Roman mystery solved?

Excavations in Pollentia

digging in pollentia

Hundreds of years before the mass tourist invasion of Mallorca in the 60's, the 1960's that is, the island had suffered or enjoyed (depending on your viewpoint) several waves of conquest by other civilisations. Way back in 123 BC the all conquering Romans brought their world famous Pax Romana and probably one or two other benefits to Mallorca.

That's the date that records show as the foundation of the city of Pollentia by the Roman consul Qintus Caecilius Metellus. Strategically situated near to the bay of Pollensa/Alcudia it was the most important Roman settlement in the Balearic Islands and occupied an area of around 20 hectares!

Though first discovered 400 hundred years ago, excavations of the site only commenced in 1923 and immediately threw up a big question – all the buildings which came to light dated back to 70 BC at the latest, so how did that tie in with the written records?

Well, archaeologists who have recently completed one of their annual digs on the site believe that they have found enough evidence under the ground to confirm that – surprise, surprise – Pollentia was founded as a military encampment complete with moat. What the archaeologists found seems to confirm the suspicions raised by geophysical surveys carried out over the last couple of years.

The Roman city with its houses, amphitheatre and forum is open to the public throughout the summer, April to October, from 09:30 to 20:30 on weekdays and 14:30 on weekends. Costing only €4 – buy your tickets in the museum behind the church in Alcudia town – it's a fascinating way to spend a little time away from the beach.

Photos courtesy of Alcudia council and Eva Paris‏ @paris_eva, one of the archaeologists.