Archaeologists have found dozens of ancient Roman army camps in the coolest way

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  • Archaeologists have evidence discovered 66 new Roman military camps in northern Spain.

  • The camps were part of Rome’s 200-year conquest of what she called Hispania.

  • Scientists discovered the camps using sensors, online mapping tools and drones.

Archaeologists have discovered the remains of dozens of Roman military camps in northern Spain, unearthing their location thousands of years later. Scientists discovered the camps, established by the Roman legions during the pacification of Hispania, using a combination of online maps, satellite photographs, lidar, and drones.

One of the oldest features of military life is the armed camp. Armies on the move must prepare positions for overnighting, sheltering from the elements, or training. In ancient times – and even today – armies generally had rigorous procedures for establishing temporary quarters.

Photo credit: romanarmy.eu

It turns out that some of these camps leave such a mark on the environment that they can be detected centuries later. In today’s northern Spain (known in Roman times as Hispania Ulterior), scientists have discovered 66 new camps scattered throughout the region, increasing the number of positions of known camp.

Scientists have discovered the camps in the provinces of León, Palencia, Burgos and Cantabria. Roman troops probably used them while pacifying the area as the Roman Empire slowly absorbed it.

The armies of Rome, like armies around the world, used standardized procedures to streamline operations. A typical roman camp was rectangular in nature, with locations for the commander’s tent, defensive positions and other items all planned. The camps were generally set up on level ground near sources of fresh water.

Even now, 2,000 years later, there are only a limited number of places in northern Spain where a large army unit can camp. In this case, the researchers also used data from the Spanish National Geographical Institute, map resources Google Maps and Bing, as well as lidar and drones. Through fieldwork and merging different sets of images, scientists have found subtle traces of previously unknown camps.

Photo credit: romanarmy.eu

Photo credit: romanarmy.eu

Of João Fonte from the University of Exeter, who participated in the research:

“We identified so many sites because we used different types of remote sensing. The airborne laser scan gave good results for some sites in more remote locations because it showed the earthworks very well. Aerial photography worked best in lowland areas for the detection of crop marks. “

According to the university, many camp positions correspond to the conquest of the region in the 1st century BC. Others were apparently used for training or garrison purposes; While Rome conquered the region in 206 BC, local resistance did not finally end until 19 BC

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