April 2017 - August 2018

Preserve, maintain and promote Baelo Claudia

Conjunto Arqueológico de Baelo Claudia

A tribute to Gaspar Perea, an exceptional worker

First steps: The conciousness of preserving Baelo
A document dated 1889 illustrates the first measures for the conservation of Baelo Claudia. Its author, the architect Amadeo Rodríguez, as speaker for the Commission of the Archaeological Museum and Artistic Historical Monuments of Cadiz, reports on the advisability of continuing the archaeological excavations begun years ago (1870) by D. Félix González, customs officer destined for the post of Bolonia, and by D. Rodrigo de Lara Villasante, Vice-Consul of Denmark in Tarifa, as a measure to avoid the continuous pillaging to which the ruins are subjected. Likewise, it proposes the legal acquisition of the land.
Why this exhibition
The Archaeological Ensemble of Baelo Claudia performs a series of duties to manage any Property of Cultural Interest, namely: research, protection, conservation and publicity. All are equally important, because they are complementary and allow us to reach the objectives set by state and regional legislation: continue the legacy from the past, increasing it for future generations. This summarizes the importance of our work. In carrying out these functions, some jobs have greater importance than others and, if they are not carried out effectively, we can not present these assets to the community in a clear and dignified way. We are referring to conservation and maintenance.
The first excavations and the following abandonment of the "ruins"
The excavations of Pierre Paris and George Bonsor in Baelo Claudia, carried out between 1917 and 1921, constitute the first international archaeological project undertaken in the Iberian Peninsula. Their results were published in French, in two volumes. The first in 1923, dedicated to the city and its areas, and the second in 1926, dedicated to the necropolis. The works of Paris and Bonsor meant the recognition of the city of Baelo Claudia and also it made Spanish authorities aware of its importance and they declared it, in 1925 a National Historical Monument. However, this statement, contrary to what could be supposed, did not cause the administration to take over the site, which then was forgotten and abandoned, even by the scientific world, and so it was becoming plunder by curious people and collectors.
However, this statement, contrary to what could be supposed, did not cause the administration to take over the site, which then was forgotten and abandoned, even by the scientific world, and so it was becoming plunder by curious people and collectors.
The beginning of the preservation works
The first restoration works take place in the 1970s. This is when the first conservation projects are carried out. From this time, maintenance work of smaller scope began, which included periodic cleaning and clearing, which were essential for the preservation of the site.
Expropriate to preserve
In 1970, the Spanish authorities initiated an ambitious program of expropriation of the land where the archaeological remains were located, having previously declared the land to be a public utility, by Decree 3839/1970 of December 31, for the purpose of forced expropriation. These actions allowed, gradually, the relocation of the town of Bolonia, at that time located on the southern area of Baelo Claudia, to the new nearby settlement of the Lentiscal. However, today, in the 21st century, still persist buildings of this old village in the southeastern part of the Roman city. These are a brake on the future development of the site, hindering its investigation and harming the conservation of the archaeological remains.
The creation of the Archaeological Ensemble of Baelo Claudia and the start of the conservation and continuing maintenance program (1989-2017)
In these years, preventive conservation and maintenance become a priority, but without neglecting research and publicity, which were boosted especially since 2005, when a new phase in the site was initiated with the new general research projects. Today these make this small Hispano-Roman city a model of Roman archeology of international importance. Cleaning, clearing of grass and vegetation, fencing of the archaeological zone and drainage, among other actions, have been and are fundamental to the effective protection of Baelo Claudia.
Actions (1989-2017)
Throughout these years, relevant conservation works have been carried out, such as those executed under the direction of the architect Emilio Rivas, dedicated to the restoration of the drainage of the forum and of some of the walls of the stores of the forum and the back of the capitoline temples. Later, the architect José Mª. Pérez Alberich, directed emergency works in the theater and of the wall coverings of the salting factories.

In parallel, some stucco surfaces were stabilised in the temple of Isis, the urban baths and the Basilica.
During 1997-98, works were carried out on the stabilization and restoration of the most deteriorated areas of the eastern wall of the site. Particularly remarkable were the actions carried out at the Carteia gate, which restored its weight and height.

Among the preventive conservation actions, it is worth mentioning the study and analisis carried out by an interdisciplinary team of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, led by Cesáreo Sáiz, as a result an agreement signed with the Ministry of Culture. This work, called "Study of the processes of alteration of the stones, stuccos and concrete of the Archaeological Ensemble of Baelo Claudia", was an important landmark for the conservation, since its conclusions have constituted an authentic master plan to guarantee the preservation of the Archeological areas against the natural processes of erosion.
Great projects: The Intervention in the Basilica
After the first works of the seventies, with the restoration of six columns and a gate, in 2001 works continued with the relocation of shafts and capitals, giving us much more understanding of the building. This understanding was increased by the placement of a copy of the sculpture of the Emperor Trajan, the original (now deposited in the Museum of Cadiz) having been discovered in 1980 during the excavations of this buildind by Casa de Velázquez.
Great projects: The restoration of the Capitol
Carried out between 1973 and 1974 by the architect Alfonso Jiménez, it had its greatest impact in the central temple or Jupiter, where the podium was restored to the base of the pillars, and was given a staircase with twelve steps. In addition to this action, bracings and reinforcements were made to the back walls to prevent the collapse of adjoining buildings.
Great projects: The preventive conservation of the Theater
In 1973, the theater was also the object of conservation works by the architect Alfonso Jiménez, who made urgent bracings to the vaults and stalls to avoid collapse and subsidence. These works, also eliminated parasitic constructions, which had used part of the vaults as stables and cellars.

1992 - 2010

In 2000, a project by the architect Fernando Visedo improove, on the one hand, the waterproofing and drainage, and on the other, the consolidation and structural stabilization. The view and understanding of the building improved, although at the expense of altering of some sectors (cavea and rear facade).

The environmental action of the year 2000
In December 1999, the Ministry of the Environment initiateda two-year improvement plan. The inmediate result was spectacular, transforming both the landscape, with reforestations of native species, and the Roman city itself, with the creation of gravel paths for visitors over the original orthogonal layout of the city. This help us to understand the urban planning of the city, but without restoring the real width of each street and even with some alteration of the original orientation. However, the most sucessful interventions of this project are not visible, because they were to the drainage of the rainwater and this has protected the site
Actions in the cultural landscape of Bolonia cove
Drafted and directed by Instituto Andaluz de Patrimonio Histórico, and financed by the cultural 1% of the former Ministry of Environment, this project is a development of the Guide to the Cultural Landscape of the Ensenada de Bolonia- Guía del Paisaje Cultural de la Ensenada de Bolonia, also drafted by the same Institute in the year 2007. The project included four actions: landscape intervention on the edge of the Archaeological Ensemble; the adaptation of the Archaeological Ensemble to the new visitor center; the cultural tour route of the viewpoint of the Puerto de Bolonia-Christian tombs of Betis-Betín, and the inclusion of the Necropolis of “Los Algarbes”. The objectives of the two actions that were made inside the city of Baelo Claudia, sought to rectify the discrepancy between the archaeological reality and the visitor route constructed between 1999 and 2000.

The result has been a new tour route, a faithful reflection of Roman city preserved in Baelo Claudia. It has eliminated the landscaped features and has replaced all the protective elements (the endclosing fence and handrails,) in addition to incorporating a new signage in line with the style of the museum building inaugurated in 2007.

Maintenance works since the creation of the Archaeological Ensemble
The stable staffing of the Archaeological Ensemble since its creation in 1989, has meant a radical improvement in the site conservation. From seasonal cleaning and grass cutting, we went to an uninterrupted maintenance phase that has benefited both the archaeological buildings and the natural environment, very important when we consider that the whole of Baelo Claudia is located in the Natural Park of the Strait of Gibraltar.

Many people have dedicated their professional life to the maintenance of Baelo Claudia and they continue to do so, carrying out an indispensable task, going beyond the job requirements, because for them Baelo Claudia is more than just work, but rather a way of life, of public service, of connection with their natural environment.

Gaspar Perea. In memoriam
If we started this exhibition with a photograph of our partner Gaspar Perea, he could only end with a area dedicated to him. An excellent worker and a fine person, for many years he was part of the maintenance staff of Baelo Claudia, always giving his best and getting on well with his colleagues. His hard work and his kindness were his hallmark throughout the time he was with us.

He gardened, cleaned the archaeological buildings and masonry, assisted in archaeological excavations, participated in promotional activities and many other tasks. Gaspar was always willing to help improve the center. His was always available and his dedication was far greater and anyone could expect. For him, the people of Baelo Claudia were also his family, and with him we shared unforgettable days of fellowship.

The ancient stones of Baelo Claudia and all of those who were lucky enough to have known him, will never forget him.

Conjunto Arqueológico de Baelo Claudia
Credits: Story

"Preserve, Maintain and Promote. A tribute to Gaspar Perea". Museum of the Archaeological Ensemble of Baelo Claudia. Temporary exhibition hall. April 2017 - August 2018


Consejería de Cultura
Conjunto Arqueológico de Baelo Claudia


Conjunto Arqueológico de Baelo Claudia:

Francisco Javier Rojas Pichardo
Ángel Muñoz Vicente
José Ángel Expósito Álvarez
María Luisa Millán Salgado
Foto Sección Las primeras excavaciones...Museo de Artes y Costumbres Populares de Sevilla.


Paul Ritchie
Francisco Javier Rojas Pichardo

Credits: All media
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