Students dig up history


The Alcudia Archaeological Site Foundation in Elche invited 20 students to follow in the footsteps of historian, Pedro Ibarra, and investigate Roman hot baths discovered in 1890.

For its 75th annual dig, the Alcudia Archaeological Site Foundation chose 20 students with backgrounds in archaeology from different parts of Spain to explore the underground mysteries it holds.

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As a result of cutbacks on cultural subsidies, it has been five years since the foundation played an educational role. However, directors Mercedes Tendero and Ana Ronda could finally welcome university students to participate in training courses, conferences, laboratory work, and useful techniques for archaeological digs.

Interested people may observe such digs and receive firsthand information, as the site is open to the public.

Of the foundation’s land, only seven to 10 per cent has been excavated.

Part of that small portion was explored in 1890 by historian, Pedro Ibarro. He discovered ancient Roman baths and what he thought to be a defensive town wall. More than one hundred years later, in 1999, the Foundation found that it was actually a contention wall for the baths.

With the assistance of Ibarra’s plans and diagrams that he left behind, the students are digging deeper to explore what the historian possibly missed.

Tendero described, “In the Roman baths we have found, ‘caldarium’ (hot water areas), ‘tepidarium’ (temperate water areas) and ‘frigidarium’ (cold water areas).” Furthermore, they discovered a crystallised plaster which served as a sort of one-way window, that allowed people to see out, but did not let light in.

The directors expect the dig to finish July 27.



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