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New McDonalds Has a Cool Design Element: an Ancient Roman Road

Have a bit of history with that Happy Meal

This Roman road is part of a newly opened McDonalds. (Rome Superintendent for Archaeology)
smithsonian.com

When ancient archaeological remnants are uncovered at a building site, it usually means a big red light for the construction project. But why not incorporate newly uncovered cultural treasures into the building, instead? That’s what McDonalds did when it found an ancient Roman road beneath an Italian construction project, reports Elisabetta Povoledo for The New York Times.

The newly opened result is the only McDonalds on Earth that includes an ancient Roman artifact. It all started in 2014, Povoledo reports, when workers in Marino came across a 147-foot-long stretch of road dating between the first and second centuries B.C.E. The road would otherwise have been documented and reburied, Povelodo notes. Instead, McDonalds sponsored an archaeological dig and used the road as part of the restaurant.

This isn't the first time, nor will it be the last that something like this has happened at a building site. Take 50 Bowery, a proposed hotel on New York’s Lower East Side, which as SmartNews reported in 2013, was delayed after builders found what appeared to be the remains of a tavern frequented by George Washington and others. The tavern was never positively identified, writes The New York Times Emily Rueb, but the site’s owners decided to incorporate some historical elements into the structure and build an exhibition space inside the hotel.

Now that this unique McDonalds has opened its doors, visitors can walk along transparent flooring and view the road or go underground to get a better look at three skeletons and other remnants, The Telegraphs Nick Squires reports. The road is thought to have connected to the Appian Way, an ancient Roman superhighway that linked Rome to southern Italy.

While a Happy Meal with a side of history may seem quirky, the McDonald's location is far from the weirdest store in the fast food giant's repertoire. Indeed, McDonalds restaurants can be found in everything from airplanes to mansions. Not too far from Marino, there’s even a McDonalds decorated with Roman-style mosaics and marble fountains. In that sense, the new restaurant will fit right in.

(h/t mental_floss)

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