Large Roman villa unearthed in Badalona, Spain

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On the grounds of the La Estrella textile factory in the Barcelona town of Badalona, the remains of an immense Roman villa of 2,633 square metres have come to light. In 2012 a first excavation was carried out and the prospect of archaeological remains on the site was confirmed, a possibility that archaeologists had been contemplating since 2008. The construction of residential buildings and a school was planned in this space, which is not protected, although these works cannot be carried out for the duration of the archaeological excavation and are not expected to be resumed until 2021, depending on the progress of the research.

Large Roman villa unearthed in Badalona, Spain
The complex consists of the production areas, where the wine presses were located, four vats and the silos
where grain and vegetables were stored [Credit: Ayuntamiento de Badalona]

Clara Forn, archaeologist at the Badalona Museum, explained that this town, located some 500 metres from the city of Baetulo, shows a farming area where the owners did not usually live, but controlled and directed agricultural production. The complex consists of the production areas (pars fructuaria) where the wine presses were located, four vats, and the silos where grain and vegetables were stored. Near the town, other areas have been found that have been identified as warehouses and a space where dolia (large ceramic containers) in whose interior the wine could be fermented. The workers of the farm (pars rustica) probably also slept here.




Another outstanding find is a stone inscription with the name of Porcius. Archaeologists have linked this name to that of Marcus Porcius, a great producer of the ancient Baetulo (Badalona) who is documented. This individual was engaged in the wine trade throughout the Empire between the end of the 1st century BC and the beginning of the 1st century AD. The director of the archaeological excavations, Inaki Moreno, says that this prosperous merchant had the amphorae he produced on his properties marked with his name, and some of them have been discovered in places as far away as the French coast, Rome and even London.

Large Roman villa unearthed in Badalona, Spain
Near the village there are warehouses and an area where large earthenware vessels were
 kept where wine could be fermented [Credit: Ayuntamiento de Badalona]
Large Roman villa unearthed in Badalona, Spain
During the work other objects have also been found such as this reciarium-shaped lamp
[Credit: Ayuntamiento de Badalona]
Large Roman villa unearthed in Badalona, Spain
Archaeologists have highlighted the importance of the ancient Baetulo in the Hispanic Roman world,
which was not at all inferior to neighbouring Barcino (Barcelona)
[Credit: Ayuntamiento de Badalona]

During the excavation work other objects have also been found such as a lantern in the form of a retiarius (a type of Roman gladiator armed with a net). Archaeologists consider it a unique piece as very few lamps with this type of decoration have been found in the Roman world. Other constructive elements from the Roman period that seem to have a funerary character have also been uncovered, as well as ceramics from the 5th century of Gallic origin and some structures that show a continuity of occupation until modern times.




It is expected that the archaeological work will be completed in the coming months and then an assessment will be made of what can be conserved or moved to a protected area, so that the construction of flats that was planned on the site can be carried out.

This discovery, as the mayor of the city, Alex Pastor, has pointed out, clearly shows that Baetulo’s importance in the Hispanic Roman world was far from inferior to that of neighbouring Barcino (Barcelona).

Source: National Geographic Spain [trsl. TANN, July 30, 2019]