2,000 year old pen discovered in Villajoyosa

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THE rich historical heritage of the Costa Blanca surfaced again, when it was reported that a 2,000-year-old pen was discovered in Villajoyosa during the excavation of a storm drain on the outskirts of the town.

The find coincided with works on a deposito – rain collector tank – when an ancient grain silo was exposed. It was within this ancient space that the bone stylus was discovered.

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The item dates from an estimated 2,200 years ago in the area of Villajoiosa which sits on the old settlement which the Romans called Allon.

The bone instrument was carved to be sharp at its writing tip, and beveled flat at the opposite end to be used to erase errors, by smearing smooth the wax tablet on which the script was written – rather than modern paper – and the granary space was 1.8m across.

The finds were made by the town’s municipal archeology team when alerted to the presence of the old structure.


The storm drain is set to run for 800m, and following this first find, parts of the works have been cordoned off for archeological surveys to be carried out, and so ensure no other items of archeological significance are damaged by the works.

Ninety per cent of the drain is to be surveyed, illustrating the expanse of historical riches in the area. “The area of the find was special in giving good views out over the Bay of Allon (Villajoyosa),” said Antonio Espinosa, head of Villajoyosa’s heritage museum.

“And for this reason the place grew into an important settlement, being an Iberian community even before the arrival of the Romans.”


“The silo was a large hole sunk deep into the ground which would have been lined with burnt clay and plastered, before storing roasted grain that could then be used throughout the year,” said Villajoiosa’s Councillor Pepe Lloret.

In addition to the stylus and grain store, recent municipal works in the town have bared a Roman road that led north to Valencia, as well as hundreds of tombs in a substantial Roman graveyard.

It is expected that more fascinating finds will be uncovered with the surveys on the storm drain area, and will continue to be unearthed with each municipal excavation, given the size of the old Roman city at Villajoiosa.

History, it seems, is everywhere on the Costa Blanca.

By Paul Deed

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