The mayor of Elche praises the "privileged relationship" with the UA and appeals to private aid to exploit the potential of the site
The three researchers who participated in the excavations confirm the important findings and ask for support to expand and consolidate them
Statements from the UA President and the Mayor of Elche
Elche. Monday, 19 June 2017
Universidad of Alicante President Manuel Palomar and Mayor of Elche Carlos Gómez Serna have offered this morning a press conference at La Alcudia archaeological site to take stock of the excavations carried out within the 2016 University of Alicante R&D+i Promotion sponsored by the University of Alicante Office of the Vice President for Research & Knowledge Transfer.
During his speech, Manuel Palomar announced that the action plan for the next years is guaranteed as the UA "will allow the investment to continue for investigating at the site, for at least another three years." Palomar also explained that efforts are being made to seek funding through European projects. From the city council, Mayor of Elche Carlos González said that "we are open to seek new spaces for collaboration" and has appealed for private involvement to set new goals that allow us to exploit new areas such as tourism, which can be as beneficial for the site as well as for the city." Gómez, who has described the one that unites the city council and the University of Alicante as a "privileged relationship", recognised the great work carried out by both La Alcudia Foundation" and the academic institution.
The three researchers who led the excavation projects have also participated in the press conference. The projects are “Proyecto Domus: vivir en Illici” led by Sonia Gutiérrez Lloret; “Arqueología y socialización del conocimiento en La Alcudia de Elche, Las Termas Orientales y áreas circundantes (ASTERO)”, led by Jaime Molina Vidal and “Proyecto La Alcudia: investigación arqueológica interdisciplinar en el Sector 11” led by researcher José Uroz Sáez.
The three researchers highlighted the important achievements of the campaign, which sheds light on different historical periods of the site and agreed to continue to focus both on the excavations and on the consolidation and conservation of the findings.
It is worth mentioning the multidisciplinary participating teams as well as the role played during the ten months that the campaign was carried out by the workers hired by the City Council of Elche.
Assessment of the projects
Domus-La Alcudia Project. Vivir en ilici
Project Manager: Sonia Gutiérrez Lloret (Director of the La Alcudia and INAPHScientific Commmittee)
Project website: https://web.ua.es/es/proyectodomus
Works carried out in the area
The first excavation campaign in the 4F sector led to the launch of one of the research promotion lines in La Alcudia developed by the University of Alicante in collaboration with the City Council of Elche. The works focused on a space between two domus (Roman aristocratic houses), northwest of Alcudia, where some of the most emblematic materials of La Alcudia come from, such as Iberian cups with representations of Goddesses and Sailacos mosaic, from the 2nd and 1st century BC.
A large area was excavated, where remains of new houses appeared and interestingly, the most recent phases of its history were documented, when it was an important Byzantine and Visigothic bishopric. The findings have allowed us to prove evidence of early Muslim occupation for the first time. The excavations show that the city of Ilici-La Alcudia witnessed the arrival of Muslims in 713 (Teodomiro pact), before the foundation of the present-day Elche city in the tenth century, to gradually become an agricultural area.
Excavation works from 13 February to 17 March; lab work until 12 April. Study and publication in progress. 14 researchers, 2 tecnicians, 16 students and 1 workman from the City Council of Elche.
In the dumps and most modern levels of use, significant representative materials were found, among which there are outstanding pieces of great media coverage, such as the famous bone-made Venus figurine, a Roman oil lamp with an erotic scene, a Punic idol and some other Romans objects. Systematic bioarchaeological record is another of the main innovations of the intervention, since the systematic sampling of seeds, coals and pollens will allow us to get to know the evolution of the landscape during the antiquity in the Elche countryside.
Part of the work carried out by the workman only
The workman hired by the City Council was effciiently working from 15 February to 14 March, carrying out supporting excavation operations, screening and washing of materials, becoming fully integrated into the team.
Excavation works at the Eastern Baths of La Alcudia
ASTERO- VIRTUAL HERITAGE Project
Project Manager: Jaime Molina Vidal
UA Lecturer in the Ancient History Area
Research group: Virtual Heritage-University of Alicante
Social networks: @proyectoalcudia
Works carried out in the area
New excavations were carried out in the eastern area of La Alcudia (7-F) where a thermal complex of the Augustan and Highimperial periods (1st-2nd AD) was found in the late 90's of the twentieth century. The baths displayed different later constructive phases from the low and late periods (3rd to 8th centuries).
The campaign concentrated efforts in delimiting the thermal complex and understanding its phases and functions
Excavation works in the Eastern baths were developed between 27 February and 7 April 2017 with the participation of some students of the Master's degree in Virtual Heritage and of the Master's degree in Comprehensive Heritage Management, as well as students of the undergraduate degree in History.
The University of Cadiz team of Archaeological Geophysical Prospecting led by Professor Lázaro Lagóstena assisted the project.
The main entrance of the thermal baths was found by its western side and part of the street giving access to it was excavated. Part of the detached wall full of graffiti was found on the same door, representing personal names mainly.
Also, the true thermal core was discovered in the eastern sector where the frigidarium (cold room) and part of a heated room paved with a magnificent figurative polychrome mosaic were excavated. This is an extension of the baths with new, larger and more luxurious rooms that were dated in the last quarter of the first century AD, which shows a growth of population and the importance of the Roman city.
The sewer and drain system was studied, determining part of the water and waste system. Even though delimiting the thermal complex was not possible, it is an objective to be achieved in the future.
A parallel programme of knowledge socialisation has been developed involving the collaboration of student groups -from primary school San Fernando and high school Sixto Marco, both in Elche- in exacvation campaigns will culminate with the extension of the virtual reality programme to be developed throughout 2017.
Part of the work carried out by the workman only
One workman paid by the City Council of Elche was working in the excavations carried out in the new thermal area. The result of this collaboration was excellent.
Ladies and Heroes Project. After the Iberian Illici La Alcudia Project: interdisciplinary archaeological research in Sector 11
Project Manager: José Uroz Sáez
University of Alicante Professor in Ancient History
Social networks: @proyectoIliciIbericaUA
Sector of excavation in the archaeological site:
The place where the Lady of Elche first appeared in 1987.
From April to May 2017
Part of the work carried out by workmen:
Four workmen provided by the City Council of Elche (José Daniel Rodríguez Lozano, José Antonio Marín Rodríguez, Adrián Beas Mateu, Antonio David García Pérez).
The same as those carried out by students and technicians, e.g. typical tasks of archaeological excavation works, extraction of stratigraphic units, extraction of the objects, washing and bagging of material found. Everything done with great professionalism.
Expected visit to the excavations:
During the tour, the stratigraphic section, from the Roman pavement to the lower levels corresponding to the Iberian period will be displayed next to the monument dedicated to the Lady of Elche; next cross-section will display the finding of the walls located by the georadar system; some of the objects found will be displayed: sculptural remains, coins, sling bullets, imported material from Greece and Italy, Iberian ceramics with animal-like decoration.
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