Work continues on the interesting and enigmatic towers of Isso

Radio Hellin / M. G During the current campaign, the excavation work started in 2021 continued at various points of the old fortress of Isso, in an attempt to answer the many questions raised by a building “so enigmatic” than this, largely due to the fact that no medieval written records have been preserved that refer to it.

The unknown, as he explained, after the visit of the mayor, Ramón García, among other councilors, Julio Navarro, director of the excavations, as well as several archaeologists who were involved in these actions in August, it is when its construction began and with what For this purpose spaces were excavated, such as the patio of a private house in Calle del Castillo, the front patio of a private house located within the walls, at the bottom of the aforementioned street, the interior of the two large Christian churches the towers that exist in the southwest corner of the fortress and that flanked the Mudéjar door discovered in 2021, the private garden that extends annexed to the facade west of the fortress and private open land on Calle de la Fuente.
Among the five intervention spaces, the first two were selected, because they provided the most information on the historical evolution of the fortress and its function.
Thus, space one corresponds to the patio and stable of a humble house that was to be built in the 18th century or the beginning of the 19th century, and which was practically inhabited until today. The medieval remains discovered in this sector confirm that the fortress had a quadrangular plan, with large corner towers. Both in the enclosure and in the dependencies that are attached to its interior, we can see various reforms that date back to the Middle Ages and that are likely to be grouped, essentially, in two phases of construction. The construction of a tower with an irregular hexagonal plan dates back to the oldest phase, the six sides of which measure approximately 2.20 – 2.81 – 1.78 – 2.44 – 2.26 and 2.23 meters.
Data of interest
In all its elevation, it is a masonry work framed with mortar (tapial de calicanto), which gives it a solidity far superior to that of the adjacent wall canvases. In a later phase, the hexagonal tower was covered with a rammed earth covering with abundant reddish earth sunk in horizontal layers, which transformed it into a square plan structure of about 6.00 meters on each side. . The two sections of wall which are attached to the tower and form the northeast corner of the fortress also present the two phases of construction which are analyzed in the tower. The eastern front is founded directly on the edge of the rock platform, maintaining an elevation between 0.80 and 0.90 meters. Its thickness evolves along its trajectory with measurements that oscillate between 1.10 and 1.40 meters. It was a base made up of large masonry arranged on either side, between which was placed a filling of small stones and earth; on this base a wall work in calcastrated cob with abundant greenish earth was erected.
In the two phases of construction that have been described in connection with the wall, they are also clearly visible in the structures that are attached to the inner face of the fortress wall, which does not mean that there is evidence to establish , with certainty, a correlation timeline between them. The oldest phase is made up of five juxtaposed spaces with a rectangular plan, separated by walls with a thickness of between 0.45 and 0.55 metres: four of them are attached to the canvas of the eastern wall, while the fifth seems to be the beginning of another battery which, from east to west, would rest on the north wall.
They are delimited by walls made of large shards of white sandstone which constitute the geological substrate on which the building in question rests, taken from an orange mud. The natural rock served as the basis for the construction of the foundation wall and the structures that delimit these spaces or rooms, as well as the sidewalks found.
In space two, in addition to the intervention in the northeast sector that we have previously described, stands out the one that began this year in the entrance courtyard of one of the traditional houses, which corresponds to the central sector of the old fortress, just north of the courtyard of the Casa de los Valcárcel. Here, several masonry walls have been exposed with an orange mud mortar; a rig which, both in this sector and in the angle described above, corresponds to the oldest structures. Later reforms were also located, such as that derived from the construction of a formwork masonry wall that redistributed the previous space.
The political situation of the time to which, in general, the force can be attributed, favors the proposed interpretations. Beginning with the Christian conquest of Toledo in 1085, Muslim instability in the southern sub-plateau increased exponentially, as evidenced by El Cid’s incursions through the southern Kingdom of Valencia and the Christian conquest of Aledo in 1086. The Almoravids they took control of these lands from 1090, but they deployed an intense campaign of fortification of cities and borders, for this purpose they even created specific taxes. Finally, the lands of Isso were part of the vast domains of Ibn Mardanis (1147-1171), the famous Wolf King, who had to face not only the Christian threat but also and above all that of the Almohad empire, against which he confronted militarily during the 25 years of his government.

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