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
Area 19 is the second room in Building 4 that has been explored. It was excavated in autumn 2019, and it has been verified that it was a large covered space (5 x 14 m along its sides). It opened to the street located to the west, which it was separated from by a row of wooden pillars. At least two of the supporting pillars rested on a circular stone base. Due to the dimensions of this room and the large volume of material in it, it has only been possible to excavate the 5 northernmost metres of the area.
This work has led to the discovery of up to seven amphoras near the northern wall, completely crushed by rubble from the building, as well as a large rectangular structure of carbonised wood (3 x 2.5 m), which is still being studied. Also worth noting are a pair of burned wooden pillars that would probably have supported the roof and which have fallen into the space. Charcoal and groups of keys have also been found. These could correspond to part of the doors that connected the space with both area 4 and the room located to the east.
With the knowledge we currently have, it is not possible to say what the room was used for, beyond pointing out its food storage role, as suggested by the amphoras found there.
Before the excavation of area 19 began, the building was delimited following its perimeter walls.
Topography work on Building 4 during autumn 2019
Excavation work at the northern end of the area
The wooden structure has been preserved thanks to having been burned, it would otherwise have rotted and disappeared forever.
General view of the structures excavated in 2019
Fallen pillars in the north of the room
Circular support base for a wooden pillar with stone wedges
Conserved part of a wooden structure
Cleaning the carbonised structure
Protection for the carbonised structure to shield it against inclement weather
Cleaning the scattered pottery
Scattered amphoras. On the left, just at the boundary; on the right, once the upper part of the pieces had been lifted and their bases uncovered.