Evidence of Third Century AD Tsunami Found in Spain

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SEVILLE, SPAIN—According to a report published in El País, excavations of a public building in the Roman-era port of Hispalis – present-day Seville – suggest that between 197 and 225 AD, a massive tsunami that began in the Bay of Cadiz landed in the south of Spain, destroying the coastal settlements and overwhelming everything in its path. The ensuing floods reached Seville, located more than 40 km inland at the time, where they caused the collapse of a commercial warehouse on the outskirts of the city. The site of the building, believed to have been linked in some way to Hispalis’ booming export trade in foodstuffs such as olive oil, is now located in the Patio de Banderas , a public square adjacent to Seville’s main cathedral. Archaeologists who excavated the Patio de Banderas between 2009 and 2014 found evidence of urban occupation between the 9th century BC and the 13th century AD, but singled out the Roman-era commercial building, which was organized around a central courtyard and had a gallery of columns at its southern end. Analyzing the ruins, they concluded that the structure had been renovated and repaired several times during the first century AD. Especially at the beginning of the third century AD, it seemed to have suffered considerable damage. Using a multidisciplinary method, including radiocarbon dating, micromorphology, micropaleontology and mass spectrometry, the team identified deposits consisting of sand, silt and shells, materials which they believe , should have been transported to the site and trapped by the violent tsunami. event. To learn more about the importance of the Spanish silver mines for the Roman economy, go to “Spain’s Silver Boom”.


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