A very silly story made the rounds on Facebook. No, those are not Roman ruins unearthed in downtown Miami. Obviously. In fact, they aren’t anything all that interesting. Fake news is REALLY annoying.
The story flooded Facebook feeds all over South Florida last week. Topped with a photo of a construction site filled with tall, dusty pillars, it boasted of a remarkable discovery: ancient Roman ruins discovered right in downtown Miami. “This find will change everything we know about modern history if it can be dated and identified to truly be Roman,” the story breathlessly claimed.
Hate to break it to you, Miami, but the story is about as reliable as Mario Chalmers’ point guard skills. It’s a classic case of a piece with just enough facts to pass off as the truth in the quick-sharing Facebook era — but it’s totally bogus. “This is way off the beaten path,” says Paul George, a historian at HistoryMiami. “It’s utterly unbelievable that someone started this ridiculous myth on a whim.”
What’s more, the photo topping the story is also totally legit. It comes from a construction site at 151 SE First Ave., right behind the Olympia Theater at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts, where a new high-rise condo project is underway; there really are some odd-looking pillars at the site.
But that’s where fact veers wildly from the fiction in the story. According to George, the “ancient Roman-like structures” are in fact left over from the site’s previous tenant — the historic Urmey Hotel, which opened in 1916 and closed its doors decades ago. It was known for its Roman-esque columns, but they were anything but authentic.
This one should have been pretty clear about being a hoax from the start. It came via an unsourced blog post on a media site called “OurCrave” and propagated on Facebook. If it sounds unbelievable (and it’s news on FB, it just might be something NOT to believe. And for the love of dog, DON’T pass it along.
These look like remnants from the foundation of the last building, reinforced pilings used as support.
We know A LOT about ancient Rome and the Roman empire because they kept records of almost everything. If there was a Roman colony in America 2,000 years ago, surely there would be some kind of record of it somewhere and plenty of other artifacts found, not just this. Such discoveries don’t come from blog posts either.
But there is a REAL archeological find of ancient ruins in the area. They are from native Americans, not Romans, who constructed a 2,000 year old cemetery that was recently discovered at a downtown Miami construction site. I wonder if that’s what prompted this latest hoax.
Tip: Graham Donald