The geophysical survey carried out in the field to the west of the site revealed a building that clearly differed from its surroundings; this was identified as “Building 3”.
In 2017, it was decided to excavate in this location with the aim of characterising this construction with regard to both its structure and function. In addition, this excavation enabled us to document more of the settlement’s urban structure.
Since that first campaign, every summer this building has been the site of a dig that is used as part of the theoretical-practical course organised for students at Edinburgh University.
The excavation has, so far, led to the discovery of an almost rectangular building, measuring 8m x 11.5m. It has two rooms in the north and a large area on the southern side, which is still being excavated.
A great deal of material has been found in this building. It tells us about both the life of its inhabitants (pottery ware for drinking and eating, game pieces, coins, etc.), and about its end, as several charcoal deposits show that it caught fire. Among the rubble of the largest room, the first anatomically connected human remains from the settlement have been found.
Anthropologist and restorer preparing to extract human remains
The wooden doorway was burned during the destruction of the settlement. From top to bottom and from left to right: when the threshold was still covered by the rubble from the walls; as part of the rubble was removed, the first charcoal pieces were exposed; the progress of the work shows how part of the clay from the fallen building was hardened by the fire (white blocks on top of the charcoal); the burned wooden lintel completely uncovered.
Excavation of the threshold of one of the doors
Top, from left to right: bronze buckle, Iberian coin and lead sling projectile. Bottom, from left to right: tip of a catapult projectile and iron key.
Example of material found during the unrestored excavations
Example of material found during the excavations
Left: small bronze medical spatula (specillum). Right: spindle whorl. Piece that is placed at the lower end of a spindle to help spin the textile fibres by twisting them.
Scattering of pottery, specifically several jars, fallen onto the floor of one of the rooms.
Several fragments of burned wood. One of them had fallen onto the mouth of an amphora from Africa that has been completely crushed.
The room contains the remains of burnt beams, iron elements possibly associated with a door, and various pottery pieces
End of the 2018 campaign
Bird’s-eye view of the two areas excavated during the 2017 and 2018 campaigns
During the 2019 campaign, the entire surface of the building was surveyed to determine its full extent.
To preserve the archaeological remains, at the end of each campaign, and as long as the building is not completely excavated, the space is covered to await the next excavation period. Once the work is finished, it will be consolidated and exhibited in a museum.
Closure of the dig
Where is it?
The archaeological site of Puig Ciutat is located in the municipal district of Oristà (Barcelona province). The archaeological site is currently located at the top of an elevated plain 526 metres (1,700 ft) above sea level. It covers a surface area of 5.1 hectares (12.6 acres), distributed over farmland and steeply sloping areas.
The hill is surrounded by two watercourses, the river Gavarresa and one of its affluents, the river Olost, which make the site very valuable from a defensive and strategic point of view.
What is its historical context?
Research has revealed archaeological evidence of different chronological phases that go from the Late Bronze Age or Early Iron Age to the Late Roman Republican Period (mid-1st century BC).
Most of the information we have at the moment relates to the late Roman Republican period. At that time, Puig Ciutat could have played a role as a garrison or military camp (praesidium). At the end of this period Rome’s Civil War between Julius Caesar and followers of Gnaeus Pompeius took place (BC 49 – 44).
How can we visit?
So far only a small part of the Puig Ciutat site has been excavated. The rest of the site is still buried. Two routes have been set up for visiting the consolidated remains:
1) A tour of the interior of the site: there are five information panels describing the settlement during the Late Republican Roman Period. The panels have QR codes to complement and enlarge on the information.
2) A tour of the site surroundings: provides a picture of the surrounding area and describes the geographical and natural conditions of Puig Ciutat.
The Civil War between Julius Caesar and followers of Gnaeus Pompeius (BC 49-45)
The excavations carried out so far have given a date for the destruction of Puig Ciutat at the end of the Roman Republic, possibly during the Civil War between followers of Julius Caesar and followers of Gnaeus Pompeius. The map shows the area of influence of the two sides in the moments before the Battle of Ilerda (49 BC), when Caesar had control over Gaul and Pompey over a large part of Hispania. The regions under the control of the Roman Senate also supported Pompey.
Historical sources mention the movement of Caesar’s troops from Marseille to Hispania via unidentified points of the Pyrenees to confront Pompey’s followers, who had taken up position in Ilerda (Lleida).