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Roman Bath

May 15, 2016

Beginning in the late 1960’s, and lasting through the 1980’s, Prof. José María Blázquez Martínez led a team from the Complutense University of Madrid to work at Cástulo. The team worked primarily outside the city’s walls, exploring dozens of tombs organized in several different cemeteries. These dated from the Early Iron Age (Iberian period) through the Roman period (roughly 700 BCE – 250 CE). They discovered extensive evidence of connections between Cástulo and the wider Mediterranean world, especially in the form of imported pottery from Greece. Blázquez Martínez’s team found so many examples of a particular kind of Athenian cup that the shape is now known as the “Cástulo cup” by scholars.

In addition to the tombs, the group from Madrid also found an early shrine (ca. 700 BCE) along the river banks. This structure had architectural features from the Phoenician tradition, indicating the exchange of ideas – and perhaps denoting a space where exchanges of goods also occurred. Inside the city walls, a large building was uncovered that was initially interpreted as a villa, but now is understood to be a late Roman bath-complex. A row of house-fronts was found along the Roman cardo (main north-south street). Finally, stretches of the city’s fortifications were also cleared, especially near the city’s north gate.

Limited excavations have been carried out by other archaeologists from Jaén and Linares, especially Concepción Choclán Sabina and Dani Campos López. This work revealed more of the Iberian fortifications predating the Roman ones, and the first evidence of pre-Roman housing.