Cancho Roano – a city to mourn lost home

Cancho Roano is a Spanish archaeological site located in the Extremadura, about 150 kilometers north-west of Cordoba. The architectural structure dates from 550 BC and appears to be some kind of extended ceremonial site, but it’s function and purpose remain unclear. The late archeologist Richard Freund from Hartford University in Connecticut according to Wikipedia “theorizes that Cancho Roano was a ‘memorial city’ designed to serve as a ceremonial representation of the lost city of Tartessos, which, in Freund’s theory, was also Atlantis. Freund argued that a stele found at Cancho Roano displayed an image with concentric circles that matches Plato’s description of Atlantis.”

In the documentary “Finding Atlantis” (2011) Freund explains that the Atlantian refugees essentially built a miniature version of their home city to mourn it’s loss. If Freund was right, the site would be an ancient example of a rather unusual architectural memorial, a memorial for a city lost. I don’t know of any other historic example of a ritual site to mourn a lost city. It would also imply that the community stayed together after the destruction of Atlantis and resettled, something very uncommon at least in Greek antiquity according to historian Holger Sonnabend. In the documentary, Freund is also quoted saying, that there were several similar structures in the Extremadura, all commemorating either the same or several lost cities.

No matter the scientific plausibility, it’s an inspiring thought, that an exiled urban community would build a ceremonial model of their former home in their new settlement.

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