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  • Byron Ellington

Roman Bricks Found Under Mayflower, Demolition Permanently Halted


roman tiles

The University of Iowa recently announced its intention to sell Mayflower Residence Hall by Spring 2024, thereby doing the campus—and the world—a favor by ridding it of the perdition that is brutalist architecture. Recently, however, during a survey of the hall’s grounds in preparation for its demolition, something incredible was discovered underneath the building: rocks! But not just any kind of rocks—ancient Roman bricks, part of a previously unknown, millennia-old city wall. In response to this discovery, the University has halted all demolition plans while research is conducted on the archaeological site.


Right now, you may be asking yourself, “What? Why would there be ancient Roman bricks under Mayflower? Aren’t we in Iowa? Are we in Iowa? Are we actually in Rome? Where am I? What’s happening?” But fear not, fellow citizen, for you still reside right here, in the City of Iowa City, Iowa. All that has changed is that now we know the truth: the Roman Empire did not just surround the Mediterranean Sea, but in fact extended across the Atlantic Ocean, beyond the mighty Appalachians, and across the plains of the Midwest, all the way to right here in what’s now the state of Iowa.


The find was first reported by Tom-Jorg MacNasters, a recently-hired construction surveyor and former member of an undisclosed UI fraternity with ties to the Hermetic Order of Nova Roma Iowana. The Order is a little-known society with its headquarters located somewhere in Iowa City, rumored to be funded in part by none other than President Barbara J. Wilson herself.


“Nova Roma Iowana is a sacred brotherhood which prides itself on its relentless pursuit of knowledge and commitment to defending the truth of Ancient Rome’s presence in North America two thousand years ago,” MacNasters told Doily Allergen reporters yesterday. “I know our position isn’t widely accepted by the scientific elite, but that doesn’t make the truth any less apparent: What I found were genuine Roman artifacts, and this land rightfully belongs to the inheritors of that incredible empire.”


The University of Iowa Department of Anthropology and Office of the State Archaeologist have denied these claims, stating that “There is no evidence of any European presence in North America before the Norse settlement of Greenland in the late tenth century, and none in the Midwest until the 1500s.” They dismissed Nova Roma Iowana’s claims as “baseless conspiracy theories” and MacNasters’ find as “a hoax, if not made up entirely.” The Department is currently attempting to secure access to the site in order to examine the authenticity of the bricks. (MacNasters and the Hermetic Order of Nova Roma Iowana have so far attempted to block these efforts.)


But MacNasters has in turn refuted the official statement quoted above, referring to the Department of Anthropology as “a bunch of shills” who apparently receive massive funding from “all those Native tribes mentioned in the Land Acknowledgement.” When pressed for details on the origins of these monies, he declined further comment before telling us that he doesn’t “know all the ins and outs” of how the transactions take place.


Unsurprisingly, it looks like opinion is thoroughly divided when it comes to this controversial topic—but who’s to say which side is correct? It seems we’ll have to wait for a more definitive examination before anyone can say for sure.


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