They find remains of a medieval necropolis and a Romanesque church next to the…

Archaeologists working in Los Azogues street in Santander, next to the cathedral, have found the remains of a medieval necropolis and a Romanesque church which could show that the origin of the city was older than previously thought.

These remains were found as part of the archaeological project of Los Azogues – the oldest street in the city – which is in progress before the street is remodeled and paved. The work of this archaeological project, which began in August and gives continuity to the archaeological exploration that began on the occasion of the work in the northeast corner of the cathedral, was visited this Tuesday by the mayor of Santander, Gema Igual; the councilor of public works, César Díaz, and the bishop of Santander, Manuel Sánchez Monge, to whom the archaeologists and the paleontologist in charge showed some of the remains found so far.

The archaeologists Lino Mantecón and Javier Marcos, who are in charge of this work, explained that the rediscovered necropolis extends over several centuries of exploitation and is “very complicated to excavate”. In the deepest levels of this cemetery, in the process of being worked out, unlike others found in the upper layers, they show that those buried there are no longer “ordinary” citizens but of a social stratum ” high” given some items they wore that have been found, such as a silver ring, which could be Roman, or a pendant with a coin.

These vestiges, the dating of which will be studied, would be associated, as the researchers explained, with the remains of the Romanesque choir of the church which was found, and which would correspond to the abbey of the Saints Corps. Until now it was thought to be Gothic, although with the works in progress it has been seen that it could be Romanesque due to the way it was assembled, the type of masonry or the mortar used.

These works at Los Azogues have the help of an anthropologist, Silvia Carnicero. Thanks to the funding available to carry out this work, “unheard of before”, as he explained, it will be possible to carry out, in addition to a physical study, to know what these medieval ‘Santanderinos’ looked like in terms of height or appearance, genetic studies and will analyze what their diet was like, if there were social differences, what type of population made up the city and if in it there were exogenous elements given that it was located in the middle of the Camino de Santiago de la Costa. The facial reconstruction of an individual is planned to be able to see “what one of the first known Santanderians would look like”.

The archaeological work on the ground is expected to last 4 months and after that the street remodeling will be carried out. Depending on what is found, it will be decided which elements of the results will be evaluated and displayedsomething that will depend on the quality and its preservation.


The mayor recalled that, within the framework of the works that Rucecan will carry out, the construction of a Longitudinal window that allows you to take advantage of the richness of the remains found. In addition, this action, which will take six months to complete, will make it possible to make the street “passable”, thanks to a reproduction of cobblestones of the time.

The same indicated that this action is part of the Master Plan of the Cathedral to enhance the entire complex of the Cathedral and the recovery of heritage. Later, the archaeologists will continue their work in the laboratory to study the materials, make plans and other studies. Archaeologists were “surprised” by the finds that were found. “Finding a Romanesque church in the 21st century is indeed a surprise”, recognized the archaeologists, stressing that these remains endow the cathedral with “greater cultural values” than those known until now and that “there are many “. “It’s a big unknown,” they said.

The mayor described the remains discovered as “jewels” and the archaeologists stressed that they could represent a “quite important step” for medieval archeology in Cantabria.

For his part, the Bishop of Santander indicated that these works seem to “confirm” that the city of Santander was born “earlier than we thought” and that its origin could be around the 10th century. Sánchez Monge welcomed the fact that this collaboration between the town hall of Santander and the bishopric makes it possible to carry out works that individually could not have been carried out and which will serve to “enrich everyone” and help to determine more precisely was Santander born?


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