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Fortification wall of Ibero-Roman city of Isturgi found

Over the last few weeks the Andújar Town Council has been conducting archaeological excavations at the Los Villares site. The aim is to identify the ancestors of the inhabitants of the ancient town of Isturgi. The chronology of the remains of the site ranges from the 7th century BC to the 3rd/4th centuries AD. "Between these two periods we are going to find the remains of a thriving city, with a very strong presence", says archaeologist Pablo Ruiz, part of the University of Granada team working in the area.

Fortification wall of Ibero-Roman city of Isturgi found
Credit: Ayuntamiento de Andújar
The team of archaeologists from the University of Granada has just brought to light the first remains of one of the most significant sites in the province of Jaén, the Ibero-Roman city of Isturgi, an area declared a Site of Cultural Interest in 2016.

Excavations have revealed not only the remnants of the wall that defines the perimetre of the city, but also a glass manufacturing workshop from the later period and two ovens associated with it, one of the few examples of this type of industry that are preserved throughout the peninsula.

Both discoveries, as reported by the department in a statement, are only the tip of the iceberg of a site that, according to previous studies, hides a major settlement where some significant remains of frescoes have also appeared and whose architecture is in a good state of preservation.

These finds also confirm the importance of Isturgi as an economic and commercial enclave in the Roman province of Betica, given its strategic location along the Via Augusta and the River Guadalquivir.

The excavations began on 25 June and form part of the "ISTVRGI Project", conducted by the Archaeology Department of the University of Granada, directed by Professor Mª Isabel Fernández García and researchers Mª Victoria Peinado Espinosa and Pablo Ruiz Montes, for the excavation and enhancement of the site that is being developed within the framework of a collaboration agreement between the Andújar City Council and the university.

Following approval by the Andalusian Regional Government in 2012, a topographical study was carried out in 2014 and a magnetometer survey was undertaken in 2016 as a preliminary step to this third phase of excavation, which is now underway.

From the 1970s until now, excavations in Isturgi had been confined to the artisan quarter of the city, where the workshops for the manufacture of sigillata ceramics were located. The recent findings confirm the intense production activity of its inhabitants, whose products were exported to other parts of the Empire.

The findings made in Isturgi supplement the recent discovery of the Arch of Janus in Mengibar as well as the remains that continue to come to light at the Cástulo site in Linaro, thus making the province of Jaén one of the most important and promising territories in Spain for understanding the Ibero-Roman period.

Source: Lacontradejaén [July 22, 2018]


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