Portal de Santomera

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Agreement to excavate the Iberian town of the Sierra de Balumba (22/11/2018)

With the permission of Cultural Assets, the works will begin next spring and will be completed with prospections in search of the necropolis and a sanctuary

Almost half a century after the first interventions in the place, the Sierra de Balumba will soon be placed again in a prominent place in the archaeological map of the Region of Murcia.

That is the objective of the agreement signed this morning between the Santomera City Council, the Santomera Heritage Association and the descendants of Andrés Murcia Viudas, which was presented by the mayor, Inmaculada Sánchez Roca, the Town Planning Councilor, Joaquín Rubio, the historian Miguel Palláres, from Patrimonio Santomera, the archaeologist José Ángel Ocharan, who will direct the works, and Víctor Murcia, representing the family that owns the land where the action will be carried out.

The surveys carried out in the seventies corroborated that the top of this small mountain located a few meters from the town of Santomera is plagued by argáricos and Iberian remains, which indicate the existence of ancient settlements of these millenary cultures, dated between the Full Bronze (circa 1800 BC) and the Iron Age (until the third century BC).

In spite of its more than apparent wealth, that archaeological reef has not been exploited yet and the passage of time has not contributed to the good conservation of what appeared then.

However, this situation will change from next spring, when efforts will be made to discover more remains, restore those already located and put in value a historical set that aspires to become a reference.

City Council, General Directorate of Cultural Heritage through the Historical Heritage Service of the Region of Murcia, body responsible for granting the necessary permits, Patrimonio Santomera and University of Murcia will collaborate in the excavation of the summit of the Sierra de Balumba to discover and rebuild an Iberian town of the Late Bronze that stands out for its urban layout and its dimensions.

In Ocharan's opinion, it could even be the only Iberian fort in the region. "

These tasks will be completed with intensive surveys in the surroundings, in search of a sanctuary and a necropolis that would provide very interesting materials the Iberians incinerated their dead and buried them with a trousseau, although against this last goal the old exploitation plays from a quarry in the vicinity of the town.

The project would culminate with the necessary conditioning to make the area visitable by means of access roads, perimeter fences and explanatory signs.

All this, together with other interventions planned by the City Council, would serve to enhance the value of a place that offers great historical, archaeological, and natural interest, and because of its proximity to the urban center, also recreational.

Ancient Santomera

"It is essential that the Government promote and support the recovery of local heritage, as we have been doing since the beginning of the legislature," said Sánchez Roca.

The mayor, who also thanked the good disposition of the Murcia family, "willing to collaborate without asking for a single euro in exchange", has detailed below that "projects like the one we present today contribute not only to make Santomera one more municipality attractive, but to better understand our origins as a people, this action will do justice to a site cataloged since 2009 as a cultural interest and will highlight that Santomera has a thousand-year-old history ".

The archaeologist and historian Miguel Pallarés, from Patrimonio Santomera, pointed out that "this area has always been a strategic control point of the Segura Valley and the Rambla Salada, two natural communication routes used since prehistory".

That explains why "Santomera is one of the municipalities in the region that has the largest number of archaeological sites, although they are still in an initial exploration phase and there is a lot of work ahead for their study to become effective," he adds.

Source: Ayuntamiento de Santomera

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