The campaign in the Castro of Alava gives “a broader view” of pre-Roman metallurgical work


“Like a DNA test for metals.” It is an example with which we want to explain what the archaeological investigation of the castro de Alava, in Salas, will do after the closure of the excavations to find out where the gold, silver and bronze of the metallurgical activity have confirmed , already last year , in the Castreño village of the Iron Age, before the arrival of Rome. The work has focused on an area of ​​known extractive activity, an area of ​​the nearby mines of Carlés and Boinás, in Belmonte de Miranda, the remains of which will be compared with material from deposits currently being mined to determine if they are related. and this is its origin.

“We are in a mineralized zone and, although we do not know of intensive pre-Roman exploitation, as Rome did, it is possible that this raw material came from the zone, which gives us a dimension much broader pre-Roman metallurgical work than what we knew until now”, explains Rubén Montes, co-coordinator of the excavations with Miguel Busto.

The materials located will be subjected to an analysis using lead isotopes with which they can determine if the metals found come from the region. In fact, as Montes details, they have evidence, through archaeological monitoring in the Boinás mine, of pre-Roman remains. An indication that supports the thesis of the researchers.

Archaeologists have dated the castro between the 4th and 1st centuries BC, while confirming with this year’s work that the place was not Romanized. “It does not seem to have reached the time of the Roman conquest, which gives us an advantage when it comes to knowing this pre-Roman technology without distortions because the site is not ‘contaminated'”, he details.

Throughout the excavations this summer, they have also confirmed that the wall discovered in 2021 closes the perimeter of the space, located on a promontory that dominates the confluence of the Pigüeña and Narcea rivers, as well as the fluvial plain. According to Montes, the inhabitants carried out the earthwork of the castro where they located the residential space whose remains, for the moment, have not been found. But they lived there, since traces of domestic activity appeared. This will therefore be one of the objectives of future campaigns.

The archaeological research is part of the “Beriso” project for the study and enhancement of the archaeological heritage of Salas and Belmonte de Miranda promoted by the Valdés-Salas Foundation and whose scientific direction is led by the Emeritus Professor of Prehistory of the University from Oviedo, Miguel Ángel de Blas, and the specialist in Castro archeology from the Royal Institute of Asturian Studies (Ridea), Ángel Villa.

Access the material

In addition, it is sponsored by the Banco Sabadell Foundation and the company Orovalle Minerals, “so we believe that it will be possible to access the material”, explains Montes.

The work also has the collaboration of the City Hall of Salas, the University of Oviedo, Granada and León, as well as the Superior Council for Scientific Research (CSIC).

The excavation campaign carried out this year in the Castro Salense of Alava, confirms the thesis of the discoveries already made so far by the responsible archaeological team, corroborating that in the basin of the Narcea river, they affect, there was a advanced metatarlugy before the arrival of Rome in Asturias.

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