Program Overview summer 2020
At the Roman Pulpon you will have a complete immersion in the archaeological process. You will be aware of the laws, regulations and protocols needed before starting a dig. We will tell you about the different methods in surveying: using maps, bibliography, local history, aerial and satellite photography and field walking.
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 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.
Roman Pulpon is known for the excavations that took place on the 70s, led by Professor M. Sadek from Guelph University, Ontario, Canada. Thanks to those works a large building with four towers was discovered. In 1973 the excavations were abandoned and 40 years later (2014) we return to the site to try to understand with modern techniques, the reasons behind the construction of such an exceptional structure and the historical context in which it was made.
The excavations that took place over the last five years discovered several phases of occupation. The most important and better preserved belonging to the middle of the IV century A.D. The people who lived in the building at the time, took advantage of the ancient huge pillars and used them as corners for their rooms, constructing walls between them. Within these rooms numerous coins and bronze fibulae were found, along with bone needles and pins to hold the woman hair stile. Iron has also an important presence in the form of nails, slag and different tools like billhooks, sickles, a small saw, knifes, etc. Among the ceramics were several big wine jars, common vessels as bottles, cooking pots, bowls, dishes and bowls of terra sigillata: the Roman tableware.
These stances located in the eastern side of the building had different uses and the construction of walls and floors were different too. We have identify floors made out of simple dirt and pavements of opus spicatum as well as mosaics. For the walls, gypsum plaster and stucco painted in red sockets were used. One of the rooms clearly corresponded to a kitchen, where a quern for cereal and lots of burned wheat seeds were found. In two other stances numerous pondus or loom weights were located, indicating the activity that would have taken place inside.
But aside from the last occupation, some of the ceramics, coins and fibulae, indicate the existence of a previous indigenous settlement in the area dating before the second century BC. The oldest aretine wares (Italian) and some of the fibulae (Aucissa), make reference to the first quarter of the first century AD. There are also numerous examples of Hispanic wares from 2-3rd centuries. On the 4th century the entire building was reused exceeded its original perimeter. Numerous findings from the Canadian team can be ascribed to this moment, such as the NW tower pools, waterways or drains located next to the SE tower and the remains of small pillars for an hipocaust placed along the east side. These remains along with materials coming from different parts of the Empire, mostly from outside of actual Spain, suggest the existence of an important occupation.
SEMINARS AND WORKSHOPS
-Classification and inventory of archaeological materials
-First aids for finds
-Archeology in Roman Fortres Pulpon 2014-2019
-The roman cities and lapis specularis mines in central Spain
-The great building: Photogrametry and 3D reconstruction
The goal for 2020 is the excavation of one of the rooms at the eastern wing of the building. This way participants will be able to accomplish the excavation of a specific archaeological context such as a well-defined room. Starting at the superficial levels removed by the plow and arriving to the pavement and the strata of possible occupations prior to the Romans.
In the process you will learn to keep the record of the excavation process, to differentiate the stratigrafic units, to understand their functionality, to excavate the different artifacts properly, to geo-reference them accurately in space, to clean, pack and storage the finds on site and the protocols for sampling ecofacts.
We will be staying at the Jardín de San Bartolomé, a beautiful traditional house located in the centre of the village, next to the church. A five minutes 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. Close to historical towns and archaeological sites is the perfect location for our both the team daily life and the weekend excursions.
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 2020:
June 21 - July 11
Fees: US$ 1,900
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 1st.
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 1st: Application fee non-refundable. The remaining balance is refundable.
-After April 1st: All payments are non-refundable unless your application is rejected by the program director.
You can start making your 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.
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, and a Roman mine of lapis specularis.
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: Torrejoncillo del Rey or Osa de La Vega.
"This was an excellent field school. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in Roman archaeology. The quality of instruction is excellent—I learned a great deal, not just about Roman Spain, but about the archaeological process as a whole. The style of archaeology was very different than that of the United States, which is due in part to the theoretical differences between continents and in part to differing landscapes and histories. The method and pace of excavation was much different than that to which I am accustomed. I had never in my life so much as touched a pickaxe before this dig and I had barely used a wheelbarrow. We were taking down the trench at a rate of a level a day (and these levels were sometimes 30 centimeters in depth!). There were things about this rapid pace of excavation that I did not agree with, such as the somewhat piecemeal method of mapping the unit. We did not use Cartesian coordinates, but instead used the northwestern and southwestern corners as two corners of a triangle, with whatever point we were mapping as the third corner. We did not map everything we found, but only the ‘interesting’ artifacts. Of course, if we had mapped every single rock we found, I would still be in Spain, mapping. It was a constant balance between the need for speed and the need for proper scientific excavation.
This is not to say that science lost to speed. Far from it! Though the somewhat strange ‘triangle’ method made for shoddy plotting of artifacts in the field, when we returned to our headquarters we were able to plot those points with precision. Everyone took very detailed notes of what was done every day and made plan maps, so at the end of the dig there were seventeen different accounts of what was done. If one person didn’t record something, sixteen other people did. Everything was also documented photographically. Catalina and Dionisio’s knowledge of the archaeology of the region was extensive. They could identify a lead pipe from a tiny, shredded bit of white-ish metal and spot an intact Roman sandal in the concrete-like soil. They were very good at answering our questions when they knew the answer (which was most of the time) and telling us when they didn’t. They were very good and patient teachers.
This program was mainly focused on doing archaeology (as one would expect from a field school), but we also went on weekend excursions to places of interest nearby. For example, we toured the cities of Toledo and Cuenca, visited the Roman sites of Segóbriga and Ercávica, and explored the lapis specularis mines. We also got to really experience Spanish culture—we lived in the small village of Carrascosa del Campo, very far from the tourist trail. We made friends in the town, relaxed in the plaza, took our siesta at the village pool, and (in my case) attended Mass in the beautiful 16th century church. For those three short weeks, we became a part of daily life in Carrascosa, an experience that was just as valuable as the excavation itself.
I would highly recommend Roman Fortress Pulpón to any archaeology student in need of a field school credit (note that this program does not itself issue credit). The archaeology is fascinating, the quality of instruction is excellent, the environment is safe and conducive to learning, and Spain is a really amazing country!"
Katherine Sargent, 2016
University of Guelph Team 1973
"Taking a vacation like this is a lot different than a normal tour of a country. Leaving ArchaeoSpain doesn't feel like the end of some grand adventure, but like the soft, satisfying shutting of a book. Of course, the weekend trips to old cities and ruins were amazing, but the greatest appeal of a trip like this is in much smaller moments. Sitting down in a beautiful garden to cheese and a cold drink after a long, hot morning. Chatting and complaining about how much ceramics there are to clean. Friendly rivalries between teams. Pulling up tables outside the local restaurant at night, sitting across from the huge sandstone church, and ordering cheap drinks. Gathering around to look at some interesting artifact someone found.
These moments become so special because a trip like this attracts such an interesting, diverse group of people. A love of history gives everyone common ground to bond over, but everyone's unique interests and backgrounds is what makes them memorable and fun to be around. There was someone there who told me an incredibly detailed history of the Titanic. My roommate was a classicist. One person was an art historian. Two architects were on the trip that made amazing models of what the ruin we were digging probably looked like. One person specialized in the archaeological study of bones. One person was a singer. There were people from France, Sweden, Switzerland, Australia, Mexico. Discovering new things with people you wouldn't otherwise meet, that's what makes a trip like this great.
Then, of course, there was the archaeology itself. That was definitely a bit more of an acquired taste, but it was still a rewarding experience. Even if the process of digging seems painfully slow sometimes, watching as the piles of discarded dirt steadily grows and grows is a very satisfying and concrete reminder of how much you have actually done. And, even if you only find pottery shards and bone fragments most of the time, seeing the museum where your findings are going to go and hearing the conclusions at the end of the trip really makes you feel like you have done something good."... " Pulpon sits on top of a hill, so it gives you a completely unobstructed view of rolling hills covered in golden grasses and huge sunflower fields. Out there in the countryside, the only signs of modern civilization are a rarely used road and the aqueduct and wind turbines in the distance. And every morning, upon arriving at the site, you are greeted by the sun rising over the mountains..."
Jacob Klein, 2016
“Ash holes and loom weights constituted regular, yet oh so special, moments of celebration! And finally, the discovery of criss-crossing pre-Roman walls, under the already dubious configuration of ashlars, left us with an unsolved mystery ready to be tapped into next season…
Yet what I enjoyed most was all the wonderful and crazy people willing to get up at 5:30 to engage in the Sisyphean task of brushing dirt away from dirt in 40C heat five days a week, while running with bulls at local feasts and sleeping on medieval castle torture towers under the stars during the weekends.”
Alexandra Levitas, 2015
“I really could not have hoped for a more wonderful introduction to both archaeology and Spain itself! I enjoyed every moment, from swimming in the pool to taking the wheel barrow to our excursions to other towns.”
Celeste Mc Ilwaine, 2014
”It was such a wonderful experience! I learned so much!. I miss Spain and the wonderful times I had with you all! … I know everyone involved will be having a great time and learning so much!”
Cady V. Rutherford, 2013