The experimental archaeology camps of UNIR are being developed this summer at the Arnedo site of Cerro de San Miguel and the Calahorra site of La Clínica

The experimental archaeology camps of UNIR are being developed this summer at the Arnedo site of Cerro de San Miguel and the Calahorra site of La Clínica
The experimental archaeology camps of UNIR are being developed this summer at the Arnedo site of Cerro de San Miguel and the Calahorra site of La Clínica

The cultural initiative, which is celebrating its third edition this year, will allow the 24 participants (15 in Calahorra and 9 in Arnedo), mostly students from the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities of different Spanish universities, to work at the two sites and promote the history of the two towns.

With the help of the four leading archaeologists (David Farell and José Manuel Martínez in Arnedo, and Inmaculada Delage and Mª Asunción Antoñanzas in Calahorra), participants will be able to excavate in the mornings and receive training in the afternoons through lectures and analysis of materials.

This third edition of the Experimental Fields presents, as a novelty, in addition to having two locations, the attendance of participants to several virtual presentations on notions of forensic anthropology applied to archaeology, the application of archaeometric techniques, non-invasive geophysical prospecting techniques or the integration of cultural heritage in the construction of community identity signs, which will be taught by experts in the field.

For UNIR’s Vice-Rector for Teaching Staff and Cultural Action, Teresa Santa María, “La Rioja is home to an incalculable archaeological heritage, and as a university in La Rioja we are committed to promoting and encouraging this knowledge to come to light.”

He also explained that “work will be carried out at La Clínica and at the High Medieval cemetery on Cerro de San Miguel, a place that could be related to the artificial caves excavated on the south side of the hill and to the now-disappeared Monastery of San Miguel.”

She recalled that this is the third time that the International University of La Rioja has organised these camps with the Calahorra City Council and the first with Arnedo, which is a “demonstration that archaeology and history are more alive than ever, and that there are many people who want to experience it first hand. In fact, nine participants are repeating the experience,” said the vice-rector of UNIR.

Following the success of the previous edition, two open days are scheduled so that interested public can learn about the development of the courses and learn about the history of the two towns. The days will be on Wednesday 17th at 7:00 pm at Cerro de San Miguel and on Thursday 18th at 7:00 pm at La Clínica. The latter will also have the collaboration of the Association of Friends of the History of Calahorra.

Along the same lines, the Mayor of Calahorra, Mónica Arcéiz, has indicated that “this initiative by UNIR, in which the City Council is collaborating, leaves the city of Calahorra with an extraordinary task for the recovery and conservation of our archaeological heritage. Its findings help us to advance in the discovery of our history and in the appreciation of the Calahorran legacy.” She also pointed out that “it allows participants the opportunity to get closer to the history of the city and learn not only about its past but also its present.”

For his part, Raúl Domínguez, Councillor for Tourism of the Arnedo City Council, wanted to thank UNIR for the possibility of Arnedo being part of the Experimental Fields of Archaeology.

Domínguez stressed that “this initiative links the formation, recovery and enhancement of the municipality’s sites and, more specifically, the Cerro de San Miguel, a space that is being advocated as the seed of the future archaeological park that will house such important resources as the Celtiberian village, the caves of the Cien Pilares or the early medieval necropolis, located next to the latter, and which forms part of its own history, within the council’s commitment to making tourism and heritage recovery a new economic engine for the city.”

The UNIR Experimental Archaeology Fields in La Rioja have an official Instagram profile (arqueologia_unir) to disseminate archaeology, experimental fields, research and all the activities that are carried out.

UNIR Archaeology Experimental Fields

The UNIR Experimental Archaeology Field is an initiative of the International University of La Rioja, in collaboration with the Friends of the History of Calahorra and the Calahorra City Council, which started in 2022, and which in this third edition also has the support of the Arnedo City Council.

In total, over the years, the project has enabled more than 40 participants to gain first-hand knowledge of the archaeological methodology and materials from the excavations.

The archaeological excavations carried out have revealed several tombs from the La Clínica necropolis, as well as various structures from the Roman period. The archaeological excavations in Calle Sastres, which have already been completed, have contributed to deepening our knowledge of the historical evolution of this part of Calahorra.

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