Program Overview summer 2023
ArchaeoSpain High school programs celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2023. We are very proud to have some of our former students among our colleagues, in and out AS team.
The excavation will be focused on the investigation of a massive building that could have served as a military garrison, as a horreum or as a place to store lapis specularis, the first crystal known to be used in windows (Plinius. Nat. Hist. XXXVI, 161).
While working as field crew along professional archaeologists You will be learning the methods and techniques of an archaeological excavation, using tools, working with stratigraphy, using record sheets and writing down an excavation journal. Collecting, cleaning and classifying different artifacts will be part of your daily work as well as drawing structures and archaeological materials.
The roman frotress is a colossal building of almost 7000 square meters a rectangle of 297x244feet) perfectly visible from satellite images and one of the largest preserved in Spain from Roman times. To make it simple to understand, it is roughly the size of a soccer field and would have been bigger in its times than the forum of Segóbriga or the amphitheater of Tarraco, the capital of the main Roman province of Hispania. Have four square towers of 37x37 feet in the corners. The building stands on top of a small hill and it is part of a settlement about 35 acres.
At the sides of the building were long structures 12m wide that could have been originally divided, or not, inside. Both the height of the preserved walls as well as the remains of pavement found between the collapsed walls indicate the existence of two stories for the long rooms or alae and even three for the towers. We ignore for now the layout of the central space of this building.
Roman Fortress is known for the excavations that took place on the 70s, led by Professor M. Sadek of the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Thanks to those works the large building with four towers was discovered, although researchers could not determine when or what might it have been built for. In 1973 the excavations were abandoned and 40 years later we return to the site trying, with modern techniques, to understand the reasons that led to the construction of such an exceptional structure and the historical context in which it was made.
The Excavation Project is conducted by ArchaeoSpain directors and licensed by the Directorate General of Culture of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports of the Regional Government of Castilla/La Mancha, Spain.
The main goal for this new season is to deep into the knowledge of the building plant that will help understand its main function. Why it was constructed here and when? No similar buildings have been found in other areas of Spain. This area: surrounding the roman city of Segobriga, has something unique that can also be related with the existence of a special construction of this size: the highest number of lapis specularis mines known throughout the Roman Empire.
The lapis specularis or speculum is a type of crystallized gypsum very abundant in the area, which was exploited profusely (almost fifty mines are known near Roman Fortress Pulpon site) during the first century AD. It was used as the first crystal for windows in History. A valuable and expensive material in its time, that brought economic prosperity to the city of Segóbriga and its territory.
The massive building could have served as a warehouse to store the food, tools and equipment for the workers of these mines. The presence of a small military post would be justified to ensure the security of the supplies. In this case the big building could have represented something similar to the headquarters of the mining district of lapis specularis around Segóbriga.
In 2021 the investigation will be focused on main entrance at southern side of the building and we will excavate new rooms in eastern side.
The eastern side is different to the other three; instead of a long concrete wall in between the corner towers, here we find thirteen pillars constructed with sandstone ashlars 80cm high, 74cm wide and 1,40cm long. Alignments of pillars with large stone blocks suggest the existence of rooms prepared to support a great weight on the top, as it has been documented in numerous examples of horrea or warehouses. It allows us to think in a large warehouse with rooms or cellas organized around a central courtyard, a widespread model in the Roman world.
In 2017 the main door of the building was discovered, located on the south wall. In 2022 we discovered the base of the southeast tower and a channel in the SE corner of the building. The objectives for 2023 are the continuation of the excavation in the rooms of the East side.
SEMINARS AND WORKSHOPS
Some of the finds in room e20 excavated in 2017
We will be staying in Jardín de San Bartolomé, a beautiful traditional house located in the centre of the village, next to the church. A 5 minute walk from our head quarters you will find the village swimming pool, that you can enjoy every day after working at the site.
The house was built in 1840 on a garden belonging to the nearby church. It was named after Saint Bartolomew for at the end of the garden was a hermitage dedicated to the Saint.
It remained closed for 30 years until its recent restoration. The house stands surrounding a typical Castilian courtyard, covered by a skylight. It has been carefully decorated and we will enjoy its varied common areas such as the library, the dining room, the porch or the large garden.
Carrascosa del Campo is a small village located in Cuenca province only one hour drive East of Madrid. It is surrounded by a landscape of small holm oaks between soft hills. The village has a population of 646 inhabitants and its economy is based mainly in agriculture and cattle raising. Its safe environment and its vicinity to historical towns, archaeological sites and national parks makes it the perfect location for our youngest archaeologists.
The church of Our Lady of Nativity (centuries XV and XVI), the House of Scribes (1840) and the House-Palace of the Parada (centuries XVI and XVII), stand out among its monuments. In the countryside we can find excellent examples of popular architecture such as shepherd huts and the ancient sites form the Iron Age and Roman period of Madrigueras, Fuente de la Gota, Cerro de la Muela and Villaverde and Valdejudíos from the medieval ages.
Even if it is a small village, it has several grocery stores, a pharmacy a health care centre, sport facilities etc (if you require special medication, however, we encourage you to bring enough for the time you will be staying with us). By our front door there is a bus stop that connects the town with Madrid and Cuenca.
dates & fees
Program Dates 2023
1st session: June 12 - 30
2nd session: July 3 - 21
Fees: US$ 3.450
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 April 15th.
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 15th: All payments, except for $50 from the application fee, are refundable.
-Between March 15th and April 15th: Application fee non-refundable. The remaining balance is refundable.
-After April 15th: All payments are non-refundable unless your application is rejected by the program director.
In the event that the program needs to be cancelled due to COVID restrictions, all program fees will be refunded.
You can start making your travel arrangements as soon as your place in the group is reserved, and you should complete them after 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. 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.
WORLD HERITAGE AND ROMAN SITES
You will have the opportunity to meet different aspects of the Spanish culture at the weekend and afternoon excursions. We will visit the great town of Toledo, the city of Cuenca and its archaeological museum, the Roman city of Segóbriga, the monastery of Uclés, the Medieval castle of Zorita de los Canes and a Roman mine of lapis specularis. There will be some hiking at the natural park of the Enchanted city and a fun day with kayaks at the beautiful lake of Bolarque.
Toledo declared World Heritage City, is a very unique place. It is known as the city of the three cultures: Muslim, Christian and Jewish. You will have the opportunity to visit some examples like the mosque of the Cristo de la Luz, the synagogue of The Tránsito or the Cathedral of Toledo. We’ll get lost in its narrow streets, have tapas at its terraces and have time for some shopping.
Cuenca is another World Heritage city in Spain half an hour drive from Carrascosa. There we will visit the Hanging Houses and the Archaeological Museum, where a large collection of Roman material is exhibited, some of which came from the Pulpon site. The city’s most stunning characteristic is its beauty that recalls the harmony between nature and architecture, and its long history that has left us with a significant cultural and monumental legacy.
The Roman City of Segóbriga was the cultural, administrative and miner centre of a wide area in the heart of Spain. Plinius the Elder called it “caput celtiberiae”. The city was founded by Iulius
Caesar and thanks to the wealth due to the exploitation of lapis specularis mines in times of Augustus, an ambitious program of public constructions began: a great foro, the theatre, amphitheatre, termae, temples, and circus.
The lapis specularis mines, Huete and Garcinarro. Lapis Specularis is a kind of selenite gypsum which, due to the size and transparency of its crystals was employed as the first glass for windows and exported all over the Roman empire.
There is not another experience like walking through Serranía de Cuenca. You will find natural resources of incalculable geological value, that look like sculpted cities by fairies and elves, such as "Los Callejones" or the "Ciudad Encantada" in Valdecabras; and the sickles and canyons carved by the rivers Júcar and Escabas. The geography make Serranía of Cuenca an ideal place for practicing nature sports like Canyoning, Vía Ferrata, Kayaking and Paintball
Ucles, the headquarters of the medieval military order of the Santiago Knights, with its castle and monastery.