The archaeological project in Higueruela reaches an international dimension – Lanza Digital


The President of the Provincial Council of Albacete visited the excavation works in progress

Last year, the first rural mosque in Castilla-La Mancha was discovered in the Alquería de La Graja, and work in 2022 has focused on defining the entire space occupied by this building.

The President of the Provincial Council of Albacete, Santi Cabañero, visited the archaeological excavations located in the Alquería de La Graja, in Higueruela, coinciding with the end of the third campaign of works led by José Luis Simón García, of the Institute of studies of Albacete-IEA – ‘Don Juan Manuel’ dependent on the Provincial Council of Albacete; Pedro Jiménez Castillo, from the CSIC-School of Arab Studies, and José María Moreno Narganes, from the University of Alicante.

With the mayor of the city, Isabel Martínez, and accompanied by the vice-president of the Diputación and mayor of Higueruela, Fran Valera, as well as the provincial delegate for education, culture and sports, Diego Pérez, and the director of the IEA himself, Antonio Selva, Cabañero witnessed the work of the team of twenty people (including students from the universities of Madrid, Murcia and Alicante) who, since last September 5, have been immersed in this third “chapter” of excavations within a story it becomes exciting to discover ‘The unique heritage of Al-Andalus in Castilla-La Mancha’.

Works which, as the president of the provincial institution pointed out, “allow the site, far from stopping, to develop thanks to the potential of its discoveries, reaching an international dimension which, without a doubt, makes us proud and asserts itself as an enormous factor in attracting wealth and promoting the territory”.

And it is that, since it began in 2020, it is the provincial institution that has opted for this archaeological investigation in direct collaboration, via agreement, with the local city council. 10,000 euros in the first year and in 2021, which, with a view to 2022, has increased by 50%, reaching a contribution of 15,000 euros from the provincial government, the result of the “absolute conviction that any investment we make to recover our assets and our history, returns have multiplied to the territory in the form of tourism, job creation, dynamism, wealth and also branding,” Cabañero pointed out.

If last year’s work campaign allowed the great discovery of the first rural mosque in Castile-La Mancha, this year 2022 they have focused on defining all the space occupied by this mosque. Thus, it was possible to identify an adjoining room whose function professionals are now trying to discover. In addition, they managed to find the quarry from which they extracted the stones which were used for the construction of certain buildings in the village, according to what the Provincial Council reports in a press release.

On the other hand, the works in the house number 15 allow to progress in the knowledge of the town planning of the farm and the use of the spaces in the houses, completing the data on the architecture of the place. In fact, next to the house that was previously worked on, there is more than 1,000 square meters of open excavation.

In La Graja, around the year one thousand of our era, there lived a group of people dedicated to the breeding and cultivation of cereals. The appearance this year of a grain warehouse and a new silo contribute to confirming the economy of this society, with strong family ties and very important religious practice, as evidenced by the mosque.

This year, the fragment of a yembe or drum was also found, indicating that from the hands of these humble herders and farmers, music also sounded in this place in Higueruela. Meanwhile, the unknowns grow with each dig. La Graja still has a lot to say about this conflicting and limiting period that is the Middle Ages.

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