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Archaeology and history of a stone landscape: Espejón marble quarries

Inscripción de C. Valerio Sereno Pulse para ampliar
  • Timeframe: 2019–2021
  • Lead institution: Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities (Ref.: PGC2018-096854-B-I00)
  • Lead researcher: Virginia García-Entero (UNED)
  • MAN researcher: Sergio Vidal Álvarez
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This is a study of the landscape associated with marble quarrying activities in Espejón, Soria, from antiquity to the 20th century, working from the hypothesis that the intensive exploitation of local limestone and conglomerate, especially during the Roman (1st–5th century), early modern (15th–18th century) and contemporary (20th century) eras, determined land occupation and use, creating a unique cultural landscape. Stone quarrying was the driving force of the local economy, defining the dynamics of communities who relied on and interacted with the land for centuries. This project intends to examine the traces of that activity, which can still be seen today, and the products made using that stone to identify, characterise and analyse this cultural landscape from an archaeological and a historical perspective, and to devise strategies for studying, managing and enhancing its heritage value. Based on the results of a previous project (2014–2017), our research will focus on the archaeological and historical analysis of the actual production area (where the stone resources were quarried), the land and water routes by which the stone was carried out, the finished products, trade and export strategies, and the resulting landscape, attempting to measure the environmental impact of the mass extraction of stone resources, and characterising and examining the types and evolution of the population associated with this industry over the course of two millennia (1st–20th century).

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Image gallery
Espejón, frente de cantera Pulse para ampliar Espejón, quarry face
Espejón, frente de extracción Pulse para ampliar Espejón, quarry face
Mosaico de la Casa Taracena de Clunia, det Pulse para ampliar Mosaic from the Taracena House in Clunia
Carranque (Toledo), fragmentos Pulse para ampliar Fragments from Carranque, Toledo