The work of a hundred scientists, historians and archaeologists from universities and research centres of Spain, Uk and Germany, as well as more than 6,000 peons, have managed to give this year a roll-over spectacular the reservoir of The Milestones (Orgaz, Toledo, spain). What began a century ago as an inexhaustible quarry on the outskirts of the hamlet of Arisgotas, of which the neighbors carried the stones to build their houses, ended up being, after three years of research, a unknown complex palatine visigoth strongly walled, not a church isolated as in the beginning thought.

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Recópolis, the dream of Leovigildo

The experts have concluded that the site is of “enormous importance” and to redevelop this town surrounded by walls and defense towers erected in the seventh century and located about 30 kilometers from the then capital of visigoth, Urbs Regia, Toledo. The set included palaces, churches, houses, pipelines, fields and warehouses.

The translation of the tablets found in the excavations clearly points out that it was built by a king whose name ended with the syllable do. “It was like a small Recópolis,” says Jorge Morín, director of the work, in reference to the impressive city of palatine, which the king Leovigildo he ordered in Zorita de los Canes (Guadalajara) in the year 578, in honour of his son Recaredo. Until the body of a nobleman of advanced age, within a sarcophagus, has returned to light in Orgaz after the opening of the floor of the church. Who was that?

1. CHURCH IS WHERE THE `DOGE` The temple was built in the sixth century and had a pantheon where inhumó to the nobleman that he ordered the fortified town.

The site of The Landmarks is known since more than a century ago and has been the subject of various interpretations. The fact that the neighbors would carry for decades, the ashlars were to plow the fields in order to fix up their homes and opened the sarcophagi which were to sell the items that hid did that in February of 1938, in the midst of Civil War, the Board of Artistic Treasure of the Republic had visited the place and conducted the early studies, and photographs.

But all of the attempts of conservation were abandoned until 2016, when the consulting firm archaeological Audema and the Institute of Archaeology University of London, under the supervision of Isabel Sánchez Ramos, supported by the Town of Orgaz, and the Provincial council of Toledo, they opened their approximate five acres and everything took an unexpected turn.

2. THE INSCRIPTION OF A KING In the church was found a marble carving in that it reads in the last line `was done for …do`, certainly a visigoth monarch

This past summer, we resumed the excavations in which they participate, among others, the Complutense university of Madrid, Polytechnic, Cordoba, CEU, Newcastle (Uk), Cologne and Marburg (Germany) or the Geological and Mining Institute. Three years ago, because it was discovered that the alleged church noted by archaeologists that the Republic sent was not such, but a pavilion aristocratic of almost 11 meters high, which had barred windows and a ladder to climb to your second floor.

The following year, was found, this time yes, a church with a burial in the nave, in front of the choir, and later other tombs in the porch, as well as a pantheon townhouse in the same area. In this last place they found the body of a man —possibly a dux, a prominent member of the dome noble— on which you are performing analysis. These have been determined, for the moment, that it was a man of advanced age, with bowed legs for many hours of riding and injuries in the ankles by the spurs. He was buried, possibly, with weapons and other objects of value, but these were dispossessed during the muslim invasion. In 711 the complex was taken by the arabs, but not destroyed, but adapted to their needs and become a kind of communications hub.

Also have recovered hundreds of sculptural pieces, that are found in one of the museums of the municipality and make it up as one of the “sets most important of the Hispania outfit”. One of these pieces is a long entry that corresponds to a poem of religious content and spiritual. It has been translated by the professor of the Complutense Isabel Velázquez and ends with the phrase “it was built for … do”.

3. BASE OF TOWER of The villa, of about five acres, was walled, and strengthened by towers to improve your defense

This last verse directly connects the construction of the settlement with a visigoth king, which, joined to the body found by the doge in the pantheon is, without doubt, that of the person who erected the palace, opens to spectacular expectations to the archaeologists. What will be the body of a monarch? “We don’t know yet because we are in the first phase of the research, but we’ll find out,” says Morin.

Already in 2018, we located another building with buttresses and two small porticos, which included a main classroom of the basilica, which meant a new space palatine of the late VI or early VII. This building was reocupada in the centuries X and XI, in the time of al-andalus and transformed. The church was also modified by muslims and converted into a mosque with a mihrab. Jorge Morín, director of the department of Archaeology of Audema, explains that the joint responds to a “urban planning based on square-pythagoreans”, which rules out the hypothesis that it is a complex erected at random, to which were added buildings.

4. THE PALACE, The experts have reconstructed the main building of the enclave, the palace. It had two floors and reached the 11-metre height

This year has been unearthed in a wall between two and three meters in width with rectangular towers and the experts stood at the reigns, ranging from Teudis (531-538) and Recaredo (586-601). This fortification, which once surrounded the whole villa, it had a monumental gate and had attached to it warehouses and homes. Each house was occupied about 20 square feet of surface area and had a backyard is rectangular in shape. “The walls, in addition to give protection (the archers could shoot from the adarves of the towers more than 80 meters), conferred on him prestige as a palatial city, in accordance with the marbles that were employed in its construction, and giving continuity to the classical world in which they based their buildings,” says the director of the excavations.

The analysis of magnetic polarity of the Faculty of Physics of the universidad Complutense de Madrid, performed by Alicia Perea, have been determined without a doubt that it is remains of the visigoth period, which closes “the controversy generated in the past century that denied the existence of an architecture visigothic own, a sterile debate in the archaeology of Spanish period in the past 30 years.” Found materials —ceramics, glasses or metals are being studied at the University of Newcastle, Uk.

“In the name of God …do, made this church”

The translation by Isabel Velázquez Soriano of the gravestone found in the church, says the following: “Recite the canticle melodious of Christ / lift up weeping eyes, along with the hands and the hearts/ for Christ to wash the sins and endorsing the debts / keep it pristine bodies and the internals of the minds / and scare away the abominable serpent, and again, the circle / where the seduction is far from the spirits fair / where the shameful deleitación of lust and the charm / the gossip banal, the glitz and the ambition of the riches / Praise ye the doors upon the immense walls / in the name of God (…do) made this church.”

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