PICTURES: Venice "Ancestor" City Revealed

PICTURES: Venice
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July 30, 2009--Seen from high overhead, markings in drought-stressed crops reveal an ancient urban landscape of streets, homes, and monuments in a 2007 aerial picture of the long-buried Roman city of Altinum near present-day Venice, Italy.

Such pictures have allowed scientists to create the first detailed map of the ancient port town, which until now had been known only from historical records and a few minor excavations.

The map shows that Altinum was thriving on the shores of what is now called the Laguna Veneta centuries before Venice and its famous canals, researchers report this week in the journal Science.

Dating back to at least the first century B.C., Altinum was a classic Roman city, the scientists say, replete with city walls and gates, a network of streets and canals, homes, monuments such as an amphitheater and a basilica, and a harbor.

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—Photograph courtesy Science/AAAS
 
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