McDonald’s Built on Ancient Roman Highway

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Running into an historically important archeological site while constructing a new structure can be a big headache for the developer. But when McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) discovered a piece of an old Roman highway under the site of a new store in Italy, the company sponsored the excavation of the highway and has enclosed a section of the road in gallery that is separated from the restaurant and open to everyone.

The company hired an archeologist who answered to Italy’s culture ministry and spent about $315,000 on the excavation and restoration project. McDonald’s Italian operation will pay for maintenance at the site.

The road itself connected to the Appian Way which was built in 312 B.C. and, according to a report in The New York Times, probably led to a villa or great estate. The site is about 12 miles southeast of central Rome

In the United States, the Antiquities Act of 1906 remains the primary piece of legislation that protects artifacts of archaeological importance and the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 strengthened the original act. Neither guarantees preservation, however, and that was the crux of the disputed route of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Italy does not require preservation in all cases either, but in the case of the McDonald’s store, restoring and preserving the site proved a winner for everyone.