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The irreducible village gala was a Lion

"we're in the year 25 before Christ. All of Hispaniola is occupied by the romans... what All? No! A village populated by irreducible astures resists is still, and always to the invader". Is not the start of the famous comics of Asterix, the gaul. It is a true story. The city was called Lancia and is located 15 kilometres in a straight line from Leon (the old camp of the Legio VI Victrix and Legio Vll, who gave rise to the current capital of the province). The county Council is going to make visitable soon to this spectacular archaeological site, a few hundred hectares of extension, which has since 1996 being excavated by archaeologists between the current municipal terms of Villasabariego and Mansilla Mayor. The complex history of the last astures free account, in addition, with a great advantage: it is located adjacent to the A-60, the highway that links Valladolid with Leon.

More than 50,000 archaeological artifacts have been unearthed in the 17 research campaigns that have been developed over the last city of Spain that resisted the roman legions, according to the historical texts. After the conquest of this oppidum (city built on a hill) that occupied about 30 hectares, and the construction on it of a roman settlement, the emperor Caesar Augustus, as he was able to say that no city in the westernmost province of the empire resisted its power.

MORE INFORMATION Thousand legionaries alone in the face of danger

The tribes cantabrian-asturian were the last to resist the power of Rome. Between 29 and 19 bc, the emperor embarked on a personal crusade against the tribal groups that were enduring the onslaught of their legions to the north of the Peninsula. The first to fall were massacred were the cantabrians (it is estimated some 80,000 dead), which caused that the astures were to step back into the lands of the interior to defend themselves. But they were giving ground slowly before the military power of Rome: Legio IV Macedonica, Legio V Alaudae, Legio VI Victrix and Legio X Gemina, who were led by general Publius Carisio.

roman Market of Lancia. ILC / Jesus Celis

No output possible military, the tribes, the astures, were locked in a Lancia, an oppidum, which offered them more protection thanks to the channels of the rivers Porma and Esla, and that could hold up to 10,000 people. For this reason, Rome rose up around the river Esla (Astura he was called by the romans) three camps. The astures, desperate, planned a counterattack. All-or-nothing, a kind of alea boasts est to astur. And it was nothing, because one of the tribal groups (the brigaecinos) they betrayed her. Agreed with Publius Carisio. The desperate attack of the fortified was rejected by the legions and the city fell shortly after.

The fight was raging. The life-or-death. The roman historian Florus wrote that the Oslobet resistance of the Lancia was such that the legions called for its complete destruction as revenge. The also roman historian Orosio described the battle in his Historiae adversus paganus: “The astures, since their camp along the river Astura, they would have defeated the romans with great projects and forces have not been these forewarned and placed on notice [by the brigaecinos]. Trying to destroy by surprise the three legacies, with his three legions, and divided into three camps, with three fronts of the army, were uncovered by a betrayal.” Anyway, despite the victory, the losses of roman were very substantial. In fact, the roman legions were outraged after the battle, and claimed to destroy Lancia as revenge. But his request was not taken into account by the general Publio Carisio, who succeeded to the oppidum has been preserved “as the best monument to the victory of roman, rather than be devastated by the fire.”

Lancia began to be excavated half of the NINETEENTH century. Work continued in the 50's of the last century by the archaeologist Francisco Jordá Cerdá, but it was not until 1996 when the advancements were remarkable from the work of the Instituto Leonés de Cultura. In 2010, the construction of the motorway (A-60) put against the ropes to the site: its four lanes, passed over the suburbs of the city. Emerged, including, an active citizen's movement (Save Lancia and Promonumenta) claiming to save the historic remains. Found new remains and the works were paralyzed. Finally, an agreement was reached: the highway would pass on the surroundings of the Lancia by viaducts, leaving the important remains appeared prepared to be accessible. At present they are covered and protected lands.

Set of public and private buildings in the environment of the forum. ( ILC / J. Celis

In July last, the minister of Culture and Tourism, Maria Josefa Garcia Cirac, and the president of the Diputación de León, Juan Martinez Majo, agreed to a protocol to restore, musealization and make visiting the city. Jesus Celis, director of the excavations and superior technician of Cultural Heritage in the Provincial council of León, explains that they are taking the first steps to draft the project and that the Provincial council of Leon will include in its budget of 2019, a total of 210,000 euros for this purpose.

The excavations that have been conducted until now, and that make up the area that will be open to visitors, much focus on the top of the hill on which stood the city as in the areas of the suburbium found under the highway. Have been carried out by the Instituto Leonés de Cultura and the company Stratos SL. Include the thermal baths, the market portico and various vials, a possible mutatio (a kind of stop stations), warehouses, dwellings and farms. It will include an interpretation centre that will allow to understand the magnitude of a field that's not in the comics, but that was as heroic as the village of Asterix.

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