Cardo & Decumanus
Many Roman cities were laid out with a grid system of streets meeting at right angles. In those cases, cities were divided by a regular grid of avenues intersected by narrower streets. There were two major streets that provided a crossroads as a focal point on the city centre: the Cardo maximus (following a North-South orientation) and the Decumanus maximus (East-West oriented). Streets parallel to these axes formed the grid pattern that divided the area into blocks for building houses, public spaces, etc.
In the Roman city of Sanisera (Menorca, Balearic Islands, Spain) archaeologists have found 3 streets so far, which form a grid system. This layout shows that Sanisera was deliberately planned. There is a main street following a N-S orientation (Street 1) and two streets (Streets 2 and 3), which are oriented E-W and intersect at right angles with Street 1. They divide the area into blocks, where different buildings have been located. There are four buildings, 2 of which have been excavated: Building 10 and Building 11, which are separated by Street 1.
Planning of Timgad
These streets would have been paved, something which is attested by the location of several large stone slabs placed in horizontal position in Street 1. Also, a trash pit was found in Street 2, which contained wastes including amphora fragments, fine wares, several oil lamps and loads of faunal remains, all covered by ashes.
As excavations at the Roman city of Sanisera continue, we will find more streets and how they intersect with others, showing the degree of urban planning this city had.
Map of the area under archaeological investigation in the Roman city of Sanisera, indicating the streets which have been located.
Students digging in Street 1 of Sanisera, where remains of pavement were located.