The Roman empire wasn’t all marble statues and columns, but a sprawling collection of settlements and cities, one of which can now be explored at the Gorsium Archeological Park.
After initial excavations in a former vineyard in Hungary’s Tác municipality found a large structure that initially seemed to be a Christian basilica, the site began to offer up the remains of an entire settlement. The supposed basilica is now thought to be a palatial villa, and as archeological digs began in earnest in the 1950’s, researchers found that the building was surrounded by the remains of the entire town. Across the 200-acre property, the remaining low walls that describe the ancient city of Gorsium emerged and now show just how robust the 3rd century city was. Among the structures found were a series of shops, a number of private estates, and even the city’s attendant graveyard, fully intact. Most of the buildings are no more than short stone footprints, but a number of artful artifacts were also found such as iconic Classical columns, and some small bronze statues.
Today the Gorsium Archeological Park exists as an open air museum offering visitors a chance to stroll down the ordered avenues of the ancient city and truly get a feel for a living Roman empire. The city of Gorsium was so large that excavations at the site continue to this day making sure that the reality of urban life in the Classical period is not simply remembered as half-naked statuary.