The Roman colony Iulia Ilici Augusta is located in the site of La Alcudia, near the city of Elche on a small elevation over the river Vinalopo. The place was inhabited for over twenty five centuries, starting in the middle of the second millennium BC.
The greatest importance of this city is from the Iberian and Roman times. It was the Iberian capital of the territory that the sources identify as the Contestania, its domain would have reached the centre and south of Alicante and bordering areas of Albacete and Murcia provinces.
The extension of the site is about 10 Ha. The materials provided by the Iberian levels are of great interest, especially the monumental sculptures and the so-called Elche-Archena-style pottery. From the monumental sculpture the most important pieces found from the Iberian culture are: the Seated Lady and the Lady of Elche
The excavations started several centuries ago, but it was with the discovery of the sculpture known as La Dama de Elche when the investigations were intensified.
The city become a Roman colony, as we can tell by its coins. The abbreviations CCIA and CIIA that appear in them have given rise to different interpretations; one says that it was a Caesarian foundation, to which the acronyms CCIA would correspond,the second says that it was an augustea foundation, that would be identified with the acronym CIIA (Colonia Iulia Ilici Augusta), more abundant. Some authors defend the thesis of a double foundation, Cesarian and Augustan, which was the one that give its definitive character to the city. Through epigraphy we know its connection with some famous Roman names, such as Titus Statilius Taurus, consul of Rome and governor of the province Hispania Citerior and whom the city distinguished with his appointment as his employer .
The building is located on the eastern limits of the site, at this point, the city has no perimeter wall, so it seems likely that the complex was built advancing and extending the boundaries of the old Augustan settlement. The chronology of the building would confirm the fact that during the first century the city of Ilici will experience an important economical expansion, not like the rest of the nearby towns at this time.
From the Roman city of Ilici we know several important public buildings: two thermal baths, a temple to Juno documented in the coins and a Christian basilica which some scholars consider could have been first a synagogue and also several houses.
Between its monuments highlight two thermal buildings. In the eastern area of the site, a thermal complex has been partially discovered and some rooms with mosaic flooring, some latrines and a large open space and portico are visible now. In the centre of the portico a large natatio was excavated and found very well preserved. The building is dated in the first century and it has been possible to track a stratigraphic sequence that goes from medieval levels to those linked to the foundation of the thermal building.
The Lady of Elche, found in La Alcudia, is one of the most famous sculptures in the world. Currently kept in the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid. On wednesday the 4th August of 1897, a fourteen-years-old boy, Manuel Campello found a stone. When he removed it, a face bust showed up. The 11th August arrived to the city the french archaeologist Pierre Paris to attend to the performances of "The Misteri of Elche",. Finally the bust was sold to France. Then, After its short time in Elche in 1965, for 14 days because of an exhibition of Iberian culture, the Lady was moved to the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid.
The origin of the stone indicates that the sculpture was made in La Alcudia, the author could have been both a foreign artist or an Iberian sculptor. The Lady of Elche is a bust carved in sandstone from the local quarry “Danger”. When the bust was found, it still having some remains of red, blue and white paint decorating her lips, the mantilla and the mantle. She is 56-centimetre-height and the perimeter of her shoulders and chest 115 centimetres, actual size proportions. In her back it has a cavity of 18 centimetre in diameter and 16 in depth, whose purpose is still unknown.
Archaeological goals for 2018:
Complete the excavation of the Imperial Baths
Document the streets and access to the thermal complex
To deepen in the knowledge of the Roman colony of Ilici and its urban network
Explore the use of new technologies (virtual reality) to better outreach the new discoveries to the public
The Hellenistic mosaic was one of the most interesting pieces in the preceding republican structures. The mosaic is made with cut ceramic tiles and pebbles that offers a white, red, black and ochre coloration, whose central motif has a large rosette surrounded by Iberian inscriptions made with Latin letters and bordered by an outline of the city walls.
All these remains have traditionally been identified with the forum. The Structures of the central space of the deposit correspond to the last phases of occupation of the site, and probably they are part of domestic installations and activities related to water management, although its concrete function still undetermined.
The Ilici crew in Elche will focus on the excavation of the so-called 7F sector or eastern therms, area that was partially excavated in previous campaigns. With our intervention we will determine the total dimensions of the building as well as its relation within the urban framework of the Colony Ilici Augusta.
The Virtual Heritage team, together with a large group of professionals specialised in other fields related with Heritage and outreach, have launched this ambitious project with the aim of the better diffusion of the results obtained during the first archaeological excavation campaign that will take place in March.
Rented house in the vicinity of the site
(TO BE UPDATED)
dates & fees
Program Dates 2018:
April 29 – 19 May
Fees US$ 1.830
Program Fees Include:
Fees DO NOT include airfare.
To reserve a space, you must pay a $300 application fee. (Included in the price of the program).
The remainder of the program cost will be due by May 10th.
Application fees will be refunded if the applicant is not selected.
Rolling application. We accept applications until all spaces are filled.
Cancellation and Refund Policy:
-Before March 1st: All payments, except for $50 from the application fee, are refundable.
-Between March 1st and April 10th: Application fee non-refundable. The remaining balance is refundable.
-After April 10th: All payments are non-refundable unless your application is rejected by the program director.
You should begin making travel arrangements as soon as your place in the group is reserved, and you should complete them upon being notified of your selection. We strongly recommend that participants purchase travel insurance to cover all needs including medical, accident, baggage loss, delays and personal liability. ArchaeoSpain is not a travel provider nor is a registered travel agent. Your travel arrangements to and from Spain are subject to the terms and conditions of your travel agency. In the rare event that the program is cancelled, ArchaeoSpain will refund program fees, but is not responsible for non-refundable airline or other tickets or payments or any similar penalties that may be incurred. It is your responsibility to protect yourself against airline and travel agency cancellation fees.
All ArchaeoSpain participants are covered with an insurance packet that provides medical and surgical treatment and prescription drugs in case of accident or sudden illness. This insurance also provides some compensation for baggage loss or theft. With your program packet we will send you more details regarding this coverage, but you may contact our staff for more information.
European students should bring an EHIC card with them.
Right of Refusal:
ArchaeoSpain reserves the right to refuse an applicant’s selection. This is a rare occurrence and is most likely due to a person’s inability to meet health requirements or in the interest of group compatibility. Once in the field, the program director and ArchaeoSpain reserve the right to send a participant away from the program should that person’s behavior compromise the safety, research objectives and general performance of the group, or violate Spanish laws, regulations or customs.
The Alicante city in the Mediterranean coast has an extensive list of museums able to satisfy the most demanding tastes, and an important architectural heritage; Santa Barbara Castle, museums and archaeological sites, landmark buildings, city walks, tourist guides and guided visits, Turibus.
Some of Alicante’s best tourist attractions are its excellent beaches. Year after year they receive the Blue Flag award by the European Union, which earns them well deserved international recognition; San Juan beach, The Cabo de las Huertas coves, Almadraba beach, Albufereta beach.
Illeta dels Banyets is one of the most known and earliest excavated archaeological sites of Alicante. It is located in the municipality of Campello, about 9 kilometres away from the city of Alicante. Illeta del Banyets is an old peninsula, which an uncertain time ago was torn apart from the coast due to an earthquake. As a consequence of this earthquake, the part that kept it to the soil was eroded and destroyed. Currently, Illeta dels Banyets is a narrow and long promontory which make up the archaeological site, which reaches its peak point at a height of about 7.8 metres above sea level.
MARQ (Archeological Museum of Alicante) is a project faced with the challenge of being the first archaeological museum of the 21st century. The museum offers visitors the opportunity to find out about the various methods and techniques that are associated with archaeology. These are explained in three galleries dedicated to: Field Archaeology, Urban Archaeology and Underwater Archaeology. Various dioramas, audio-visual presentations and interactives provide visitors with a detailed insight into the techniques that archaeologists use to discover the past. These provide valuable information which is displayed in an attractive and didactic way.
MARQ is divided into various thematic sections which provide visitors with the opportunity to enjoy an emotive journey through the local history. On entering the exhibition area, visitors are immediately submerged into the local geography of Alicante and are shown the rich and varied nature of its natural and monumental landscapes. From here the historical journey begins through the permanent galleries dedicated to Prehistory, the Iberians, the Romans, the Medieval Age and the Modern and Contemporary Historical Periods.
Santa Pola sits in a bay with a variety of coves and beaches which are traditional fishing grounds. Close to the bustling port are Santa Pola’s two main beaches which enjoy fine sands and clear blue waters.
Easily accessible by tram, San Juan beach is 7 kilometres of beautiful fine white sand, which is considered to be one of the finest in Spain.
Cartagena is a city with more than 2,500 years of history. Each corner of the ancient carthaginian capital in Iberia, street and square of the city offers travellers monumental examples of its splendorous historical past. The Cartagena inititiative, "Port of Cultures", opens up a wide range of possibilities which enable the visitor to enjoy the city's heritage and cultural riches: to find out about its origins by visiting the Punic Walls, evidence of the founding of the city by the Carthaginian Asdrubal in the year 227 B.C., where a Visitor Activity Centre will explain all about that fundamental part of its history and the local archaeology.
The Roman Theatre Museum is the city's undeniable symbol. It is a wonderful architectural ensemble, designed by Rafael Moneo, where every space is even more amazing than the previous one. It integrates Pascual Riquelme Palace, Santa María la Vieja Cathedral. An interesting detail: Carthago Nova Theatre, built in the 1st century BC by Emperor Augustus, was not discovered until 1990.