1996 World Monuments Watch
Albingaunum, the wealthy Roman city along the River Centa, was important both strategically and commercially because of its position as a gateway to the fertile plains of northern Italy and Gaul, and as a major port with access to the Mediterranean Sea. Today the Ligurian region, including the modern town of Albenga, is plagued by chronic flooding. To relieve this problem, widening the riverbed has been proposed. In the dredging process, though, significant and as-yet-unexcavated ancient Roman ruins would be destroyed, including an aqueduct, a bath complex, a burial ground, and stretches of the ancient city walls. A court order blocking the project is under appeal and may be overturned. A timely evaluation, jointly conducted by engineers and archaeologists, of the impacts and alternatives is needed to forestall the proposed dredging. An expression of concern from outside the region will bolster local preservation efforts. Focusing broader attention on the importance of studying alternative solutions is the purpose of this listing.
Since the Watch
A court order halted the project and Watch listing encouraged all concerned parties to investigate alternative solutions to the flood control problem. Archaeological excavations conducted by the Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Liguria for the enlargement of the river that took place in 2001-2002 ultimately revealed several important monuments. The excavated ruins include a section of the Roman baths of ancient Albingaunum and a Late Antique Christian complex comprising a church, baptistery, and cemetery. February 2011