Archaeologists Have Uncovered New Evidence That Rivals Old Beliefs About The Downfall Of The Roman Empire In A “Backwater” Central Italy Town Previously Thought To Be “Unpromising”

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In a once overlooked “backwater” town that was written off as “unpromising,” researchers have discovered new evidence that challenges previously held beliefs about the downfall of the Roman Empire.

For thirteen years, a team of archaeologists from the University of Cambridge has been conducting surveys and excavations in Interamna Lirenas, an ancient Roman settlement located in central Italy.

The latest findings indicate that the town continued to prosper well into the third century A.D., which is considered to be when Italy began experiencing a decline.

According to Alessandro Launaro, a researcher at the University of Cambridge and leader of the excavation project, the town seemed to be rather ordinary.

“It was of average size and occupied a middling position in the settlement hierarchy—it is therefore likely to be more representative of a large number of towns which dotted Roman Italy and the empire at large,” he said.

It was assumed that the state of the town had started to take a nosedive by the end of the first century B.C. However, recent discoveries have shown that Interamna Lirenas was actually “complex, monumental, and articulate” during that time.

It peaked in the second century B.C. and was still flourishing in the third century A.D. As time went on, the population diminished until the town was completely deserted in the later sixth century A.D. In the third century, the Roman empire itself nearly collapsed due to invasions, war, plagues, and economic crises, but it had already been showing signs of trouble earlier on.

Laurano believes that Interamna Lirenas adapted to the challenging conditions by building a strong network of relationships in the political, social, and economic realms, which was how they thrived before the rise of the Roman Empire and survived after its fall.

The analysis of Interamna may provide a better understanding of how other communities in Italy managed to overcome troubling times.

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