Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Keys to the [Roman] City

When we moved in, we were given three keys by the porter in addition to keys to our own apartment. The three keys were for the lobby door and also for the back gate and back door of the building. Well, one of the keys also opens the back gate and the back door of the building. The other two don't even open the lobby door. I told the porter and he said they were copied from an old worn-out key.

I went to the nearest hardware store and had three new keys made. They didn't work either. I went back to the hardware store. Instead of refining the three keys that had already been made, he made three brand-new keys. Of course, they didn't work either. Today, I went to a different hardware store and had two new keys made.

THE KEYS DON'T WORK THIS GATE EITHER.

I decided to reward myself for performing this boring (and redundant) task by going for a walk around the neighborhood, this time heading northeast away from the beach instead of southwest toward the center of Fuengirola. I couldn't believe what I found. There's a fairly new park still being landscaped  and developed, Parque Yacimiento Romano (Roman Archaeological Site Park). It's the site of a dig begun after the discovery of Roman ruins in 1970 when a new railway line was being built. In 1987, when a road was being widened, the main Roman steps were discovered. Major excavations were begun and major discoveries were made.

THE MAIN STEPS UNCOVERED IN 1987.

Unearthed were the remains of what is referred to as a Roman industrial complex — a fish-salting factory, pottery factory, thermal baths, and gardens. I couldn't tell what was original to the gardens. Maybe the layout. All else was completely contemporary and far from finished. But the fish-salting factory, the ovens, and the thermal baths are fascinating to see, especially so close to home. The complex was built during the 1st Century AD and maintained and added to through the 5th Century. (We had an old house in San Diego, California. It was built in 1924.)

FISH-SALTING FACTORY.

ONE OF FIVE KILNS FOR FIRING THE CLAY PRODUCTS.

ROMAN THERMAL BATHS.
IN THE BACKGROUND, CERCANÍA, THE EXCEPTIONAL COMMUTER TRAIN.

THERMAL BATHS: THIS WAS A CLOISTERED COURTYARD.

CLOSER VIEW OF MOSAIC FLOOR IN THE CLOISTERED COURTYARD.

THERMAL BATHS: HOLDING TANK. 
DO YOU SUPPOSE THAT'S THE ORIGINAL ROMAN WATER?

THE CISTERN:
A SMALL BUILDING FOR STORING AND DECANTING WATER FOR THE THERMAL BATHS.

The cistern photo made me think of a poem I learned in high school. It was part of a collection from the early 20th Century called "Ruthless Rhymes for Heartless Homes" by Harry Graham.

Into the cistern little Willie
Pushed his little sister Lily.
Mother couldn't find our daughter,
Now we sterilize our water.

LOOKING BACK BEFORE HEADING HOME.

After exploring the ruins for an hour, I took my 5-minute walk home. I made a point of passing the Roman pillars at the entrance to Los Boliches Beach across from our building. The pillars came from the excavation.

I was really looking forward to letting myself into the building with one of my two new keys. Neither one worked. Who knows what I'll discover tomorrow!

20 comments:

  1. What lovely ruins! And so close to home! Thank you for the pictures.

    Perhaps the key to your problem lies in a new lock?

    By the way, the poem is gross. :)

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    1. Jo:
      Unfortunately, the lock is on the front door (and back door, and garage gate) of the building. So, three locks and a lot of keys (for the entire building). I'll just keep plugging away.

      If you think this poem is gross, you should read the rest of his work!

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  2. When the owner of the B&B where we live bought this place he had the builders dig down only 1 level.... if they had found artifacts (and if they went down any further they surely would have) the building project could well have been put on hold for years. Wonder how/who decides what is to be restored and what not? Also.. I forget what the bull in the background of your photos represents... please refresh my memory ;-)

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    1. Sharon... Cut and pasted from last time (since I couldn't remember either)!

      That's the "Osborne Bull." It started in 1956 as advertising for the Osborne sherry company (a brandy of Jerez de la Frontera). It has since become the unofficial national symbol of Spain.

      Delete
  3. What an exciting find! I'm looking forward to your further explorations. You haven't blogged about your mom lately. Has her apartment been restored by now?

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    1. I'm curious how your mom is doing, too!

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    2. Ms. Sparrow and Judeet:
      A blog about the Duchess will be coming again soon. She's doing great. Her apartment has been restored, new floor, all moisture removed from walls. Now it just needs a fresh coat of paint. We'll be visiting her soon! Thank you both; she will be really touched that you asked.

      Delete
  4. Great ruins! Wow! The mosaic floor makes it all real to me. We were just at the St. Louis Art Museum last week, and Elliot and I were remarking on a mosaic floor section very similar to that one, that they have on display on a wall. It never ceases to boggle my mind that I could be looking at something that other people made and used and looked at and touched so so so so so long ago. (p.s. Good luck with the keys :)

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    1. Judeet:
      Things like the mosaic floor make it very real and human. Unbelievable that something like that could last so long. I'm looking forward to visiting the history museum here... and the castle. So much more to see.

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  5. Imagine! Right in your backyard! An archaeologists dream!! (you see one of my 'majors' in university was anthropology) I always dreamed to 'do a dig'!
    Great photos, great account....now to get some keys that work!!

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    1. Jim (and Sophie):
      I would think you would love participating in a dig here. Really amazing.

      Keys? We don't need no stinkin' keys! (Well, yes we do. San Geraldo is now trying to refine one with emery paper.)

      Delete
  6. What a beautiful mosaic floor although I'm truly hoping that isn't the original Roman water (or mosquitoes for that matter). Best of luck with your quest to find keys which actually work in the locks.

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    1. Jaquelineand...
      Not much of a mosquito problem here so my guess is the water has been changed. San Geraldo is busy filing the house keys down to see if he can make them work. If not, I'll head to another hardware store tomorrow. (Maybe I should borrow someone else's key for copying!)

      Delete
  7. Oh dear. We have just been through a similar episode with keys - any ideas on what we can do with a bunch of useless ones?

    The Roman ruins are wonderful and I love the way the mighty bull is watching everything.. just how big is he?

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    1. Elaine:
      The "Osborne Bull" is 14 metres high (46 feet).

      Check out this great link for the history and stats: http://www.vinoybrandydelpuerto.com/index.php?page=437

      I wish I knew what to do with all these useless keys. I usually stash them in a drawer and throw them away 10 years later when I can't figure out what they're for.

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  8. Old house here is 1800 thats in Maine Florida I had a 1920
    home. That bath water is Green?? Watch out for the frickin Bull on the walk home. No kidding aside, good post.
    Don't forget St. Pat's Day.
    yvonne

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    1. Yvonne:
      Wow, 1800! That must be wonderful.

      I wonder what St. Patrick's Day will be like here. The first beer I ever had was a green beer on St. Patrick's Day at Barber's Bar in Brockport, NY ... when I was 17.

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  9. Discoveries are so exciting, aren't they! Especially when so unexpected. If you are ever in Budapest you might like to visit Aquincum, the Roman ruins there. A relative of ours works as a restorer there....Here's to many more happy surprises during your walks near the beach.

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    1. Kristi:
      I would love to see Budapest and the Roman ruins. I've heard it's an amazing city. Maybe someday.

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