The archaeological excavations in sector 4F of La Alcudia of Elche are part of a research plan developed within the framework of the “Domus-La Alcudia. Living in Ilici”, from the University Institute for Research in Archaeology and Historical Heritage, funded by the University of Alicante, with the support of the Elche City Council. The project began in 2017 with a large team from the University of Alicante, the University of Murcia, the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and La Alcudia Foundation itself, with the participation of students from the Undergraduate Degree in History and the Master’s Degree in Professional Archaeology and Integrated Cultural Heritage Management, both at the UA.
The scientific objective of the project is to report the history of the city through a comprehensive diachronic evolution in a never-before-excavated sector of the north-eastern area of %u200B%u200Bthe city, where one of the most extensive and complex stratigraphic sequences of the urban centre is preserved. From a heritage perspective, the project seeks to reinterpret, enhance and integrate a sector of the site into the museum circuit, which currently shows a set of decontextualized structures together with an idealised reconstruction of two Roman domus.
In the first campaigns, testimonies of early Islamic, Visigothic and Roman imperial occupation were found, in particular, the remains of a street and the houses flanking it, characterised by powerful foundations and padded ashlars, perhaps re-employed in a monumental building of the colonial foundation. The current works allow us to glimpse, at a depth of two metres with respect to the current landscape, the urban plot corresponding to the moment of the foundation of the Colonia Iulia Ilici Augusta. The collapses of the houses of this period of time, built with earthen walls on thick stone plinths, provide abundant ceramics, metals, coins and all kinds of domestic objects corresponding to the Julio-Claudian period (around 20-60 CE). The excellent preservation of the stratigraphy in this sector and the proximity to the place where some of the most emblematic vessels of La Alcudia appeared, such as the one known as the “Tonta del Bote”, in a powerful fire level, has generated great expectations in the team. This group plans to re-study contexts similar to those found by Alejandro Ramos Folqués in the 1940s, and extend it to the republican and Iberian Roman levels and put into context, if necessary, evidence of known partial and fragmentary prehistoric occupation.
Meanwhile, the exhaustive and comprehensive documentation of the material and bio-archaeological records, including the systematic flotation screen, begins to bear fruit, allowing historical and paleoenvironmental reconstruction of La Alcudia environment. The characterisation of the great late imperial urban redevelopment (3rd and 4th centuries), to which many of the structures considered Augustan seem to really correspond; the magnitude and systematic character of the looting and re-employment corresponding to the late Roman phases or the recognition of up to now invisible and despised early medieval contexts, are some of the most innovative preliminary results, awaiting the pre-Roman phases of settlement.