La Alcudia research centre

This research centre is located at the La Alcudia site. A number of projects have been or are currently being undertaken at this facility, which has a master plan setting its primary lines of research. These lines focus on two main aspects: the conservation needs of the existing structures that are open to visitors, and the scientific interests of different research groups.

Given that the centre is a university facility, teaching is of utmost importance. Fieldtrips or lab-based research are part of the work placements available for university students.

Our research work is supported by the University Institute for Archaeology and Heritage Research (INAPH), created at the University of Alicante by Decree 149/2014 of the Valencia Region’s Government in order to promote the study, interpretation and promotion of historical heritage, taking into account the latest and most comprehensive archaeological trends. One of the main objectives of INAPH is to collaborate on research, conservation and outreach activities run at the La Alcudia university site. Many of the members of the Scientific Board are affiliated to the Institute.


Primary lines of research
  • In the current state of knowledge, action is required in these main lines:
    • Understanding and getting to know the Roman city at three pivotal moments:
      • 1. Formation of the city. Transition from the Iberian settlement to the foundation of the colony.
      • 2. Definition of the Roman city at two essential moments: Augustan and Flavian period.
      • 3.Transformation of the city in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages (topographic transformation, Christianisation, abandonment and formation of Elche in Andalusian times).
    • Contextualising monuments and structures excavated when archaeological recording systems were rare, integrating them into coherent and understandable visitor tours.
    •  Documenting the oldest phases of the site (Iberian and/or Prehistoric) to enhance the archaeological area.




Spheres of action of the foundation


Eastern thermal baths

Large baths from the 1st century CE, in use until Late Antiquity. The thermal baths were partially excavated in the 1990s and partly consolidated. Work is currently underway for re-studying, consolidating and placing protective covering at the baths.
Virtual anastylosis has been carried out on several occasions in the sector to enhance the site.



 Fotografía de VCROWN


Western wall and thermal baths

Monumental complex located at the entrance of the site. Today the facade, more than 60 m long, can be seen. The wall marks the western boundary of the building. The upper platform has remains of some of the pavements related to the frigidarium, a specus and the natatio.

While in traditional literature this construction was thought to have been a wall from Late Antiquity, the interventions undertaken indicate that it is the external wall of a large thermal complex.

These data are added to those obtained in 1890 by Mr. Pedro Ibarra, who excavated some rooms of the building (such as the caldarium and the tepidarium) with results that he described in great detail. Thanks to this, this information has been recovered today despite the fact that the archaeological remains are again covered with earth.

The building was built around the last third of the 1st century BCE on the partial remains of an older wall, and there is evidence of its use at least until Late Antiquity.
In this sector, a Practical Archaeology Course has been developed, included in the University of Alicante Rafael Altamira Summer Programme, open to university students from different backgrounds.

As a result of the creation of an Interpretation Centre at the entrance of the site, a Roman wall of the city was documented and restored, with the sponsorship of the Alicante Provincial Council, within an agreement between the MARQ Foundation and La Alcudia Foundation.

It is a masonry-based wall, made of adobe in the upper part, that dated back from at least the 1st century BCE, which was partially dismantled and reused in the construction of the city’s western thermal complex a century later.

Stratigraphic contexts and their relationship with the thermal building are currently being studied.


Further information:


“Iberian” houses. Sector 4C

Action aimed at proposing a stratigraphic rereading of the sector based on a new archaeological intervention using an updated methodology on the one hand and, on the other, at recovering the ancient excavations that were carried out there, both structurally and documentary proof. The final goal is intended to update one of the fields of the site with a more complete occupational sequence.

The first part of the project, the excavation, was financed by the Valencian Government within the Confianza Plan, requested by the Elche City Council. An urban sector was reported to be in operation from at least the 1st century BCE. until the beginning of the Islamic period, considering that previous phases of the Iberian period at in-frapped levels are still to be documented. At least one Roman street appeared with a long sequence of occupation, in addition to the remains of the caldarium of an important thermal complex, close to or perhaps linked to western baths.



Further information:


Sector 10D. Ilici en las guerras civiles romanasSector 10 D. Illici in the Roman civil wars

Action aimed at documenting and reinterpreting the stratigraphic sequience and the levels excavated in sector 10D. In this southern sector of La Alcudia, close to the place where the Lady of Elche was discovered, archeological excavations were carried out in 1905, in 1923 and in the 1950s. The compilation of a part of this ancient documentation has made it possible to carry out a stratigrafic reading proposal that. combined with specific stratigraphic surveys, has allowed us to verify the information corresponding to the republican phase of Ilici.

The date are integrated into various R&D&I projects financed by MINECO (HAR2009-11334. The development of the Roman civil wars and the transformation of the indigenous world in the Southeast of Hispania and HAR2012-32754. The traces of the Roman civil wars in south-eastern Hispania. Conflicts and cultural transformation)

Further information:






 Other projects


The University of Alicante and the Foundation, in accordance with the 2017/2029 Master Plan, wish to promote archaeological research in and about La Alcudia. The aim is to establish strategic lines of research on poorly understood aspects, through new excavations, documentation, study of funds and application of new technologies for the transfer and interpretation of heritage.

La Alcudia thus opens its doors to funded initiatives and projects, proposed by national and international university and research centres, that are of interest for the historical knowledge, conservation and enhancement of the archaeological site. Its facilities are now well prepared to host these initiatives, in parallel with the work carried out by the Foundation itself.