History and legacy of an archaeological site.
The relevance of the city of Castulo is evident since antiquity. We can find lots of citations in classical sources in addition to evidence of continued occupation, at least from the Copper Age to the fourteenth century. We are talking about more than 4,000 years of occupation.
The importance acquired by Castulo is favored by the abundance of existing argentiferous galena in the environment and its strategic location. Castulo is situated on a broad plateau of nearly 50 hectares along the river Guadalimar (Betis river to the Romans). Until the city reached the main roads in Roman times. This is the case of the Via Augusta, which ran alongside the river, where a harbor was built, which served as the backbone for the export of silver, lead, olive oil, cereal or livestock.
Despite the systematic pillaging suffered in Castulo throughout their history, archaeological interventions and various findings demonstrate the importance of the site and show great cultural and historical wealth.
The current archaeological site not only stands out for its high historical and archaeological interest, also has landscape and environmental resources which give it a special uniqueness.
With the votive offerings we can make an approach to religion and beliefs of the Iberians. These figures are representations of humans, animals or body parts, and were deposited in sanctuaries, such as Collado de los Jardines or Castellar de Santisteban, in honor of the gods in exchange for welfare, health, protection or prosperity.
This particular representation of an Iberian rider on a blackboard allows us to observe details of the clothing and equipment of the Iberian time that otherwise would be impossible to know. Among them, the saddle made from animal skin and the cinch for clamping it. Such materials are not generally preserved, due to their organic nature.
In 228 B.C. Castulo is submitted by the Carthaginians in command of Amilcar Barca, after its entry into the Peninsula in 236 B.C. after the defeat in the First Punic War against Rome.
Iberian Peninsula was the main supply base of men, food and riches, to organize the expedition to Italy in the Second Punic War. Castulo with argentiferous wealth was the main source of income.
After the defeat and death of Amilcar by Orisio, oretano ruler, in 228 BC, his son-in-law and successor Asdrubal come his death and conquer the Oretania initiating a policy of friendship with the nobility that would further enhance his successor, Aníbal Barca.
Anibal married the daughter of a ruler from Castulo to strengthen its alliances and start from here the conquest of the Plateau and lead the beginning of the Second Punic War against Rome with the conquest of Sagunto in 219 BC.
At the beginning of the Roman period, Castulo becomes federated city ("civitas et liberae immune") partially exempt from tax payments, but should hold a Roman garrison and provide troops in case of war.
It is possible that Castulo began his political and administrative organization with Caesar in the first century B.C., being with Augustus when it seems that the administrative organization is adapted to the Roman model, configured as municipality of Latin law.
By experimenting with various applications of low cost, and after obtaining high-resolution images of mosaic of Eros, it emerged challenges designed to further research the mosaic. One such study, by using stratigraphy, allowed closer to the only people who used that space, its creators.
Along with the archaeological excavations and analysis and study of the written sources throughout history, the use of new technologies such as geophysical prospecting, 3d computer graphics, virtual reality or low cost applications allow us to know a little more general details and particulars of the ancient city of Castulo.
In 313 A.D. Constantine I legalized Christianity, and in 325 D.C. with the First Council of Nicaea gives legitimacy to it in the Empire that would favor its expansion. In Castulo stands the presence of one of the oldest Christian buildings in the Iberian Peninsula, dating from the fourth century A.D. and wherein the paten of Christ in Majesty was found.
About the history of the city at this stage we have some historical references, such as the Battle of Qastuluna in 786 A.D. between the troops of Abderramán I and AI-Fihiri Yusuf, the governor of the Mark of Toledo who rebelled against the emir. We can find another later reference with the uprising of the Muladies in Qastuluna by which Ubay ben Alah ben AI-Shaliya proclaims king and rule about for twenty years until Abderramán III decides to end the revolt and AI-Shaliya must deliver the city unable to cope with its small troops to the caliph.
Between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries the main fortification is positioned at the southern end of the old city. The Castle of Santa Eufemia is in this phase, which only remains of a tower built in the late twelfth century. This castle is located at the southern end and is isolated from the main plateau, with a moat to the north to favor the defense of the most vulnerable area.
After the Christian conquest, Cástulo continued occupied with a small village until the fourteenth century, before being finally abandoned. From that moment, the rise of Baeza and Linares supposed the dismantling of Castulo, serving its ruins as quarry for the growth of these two cities.
During the reigns of Carlos I and Felipe II various catalogs of Antiquities was made. Castulo deserves the attention of authors as Gregorio López Pinto, who in his "apologetics History of the very ancient city of Castulo" described the site indicating the strong walls of same and localized four main gateways to the city in the four cardinal points. He also represents one of the last buildings in Castulo, the hermitage of Santa Eufemia, dedicated to the worship of this holy behind the false attribution of martyrdom in the city by Jerónimo Román de la Higuera in the late sixteenth century.
The most comprehensive description of the archaeological site was made by J. Martinez de Mazas in the eighteenth century, which highlights the existence of numerous ruins in the vicinity of the walled city.
In the nineteenth century Castulo was the subject of various descriptions such as Pascual Madoz or Manuel de Gongora, Inspector of Antiquities of the Real Academia de la Historia, who visited the site and identified four gates in the city walls, like Lopez Pinto, and several towers of cyclopean stones, making a detailed topographic map in which we discover the state of the site.
La descripción más exhaustiva del asentamiento la realiza en el siglo XVIII, J. Martínez de Mazas, que pone de relieve la existencia de numerosas ruinas en el entorno de la ciudad amurallada.
En el siglo XIX Cástulo fue objeto de diversas descripciones como las de Pascual Madoz o las de Manuel de Góngora, Inspector de Antigüedades de la Real Academia de la Historia, que visitó el yacimiento e identificó cuatro puertas en el recinto amurallado, al igual que Lopez Pintó y varias torres de piedras ciclópeas, realizando un detallado plano topográfico en el que nos descubre el estado del yacimiento.
The plan drawn by Gregorio López Pinto in 1656 is the first mapping performed on the Cástulo ruins, and the first idealization of the ancient city, which was already devastated, although documented existing buildings such as the chapel of Santa Eufemia, others like perimeter wall of the city had to interpret from the remains that were preserved.
In 2011, with the creation of the Archaeological Ensemble of Castulo, began a new stage of investigations by the Project Forvm MMX, the germ of General Research Project "Castulo XXI Century" which takes place today, combining the efforts of different administrations (Consejería de Cultura and Consejería de Economía, Innovación, Ciencia y Empleo of Junta de Andalucía; Universidad de Jaén; Instituto Universitario de Investigacién en Arqueología Ibérica; Diputación Provincial; Ayuntamiento de Linares and Chapman University (USA); an extensive multidisciplinary technical team and citizenship, betting on research, valuation and protection of our Heritage.
Castulo City: History and legacy
Conjunto Arqueológico de Cástulo, Linares (Jaén)
Consejería de Cultura de la Junta de Andalucía
Curated by Francisco Arias de Haro and Marcelo Castro López.
Texts: Francisco Arias de Haro y Marcelo Castro López.
Photography: Francisco Arias de Haro, Jose Manuel Pedrosa Luque and Yolanda Ogayar Martínez.
Infographic: esTRESd Patrimonio Virtual.
Digital layout: Francisco Arias de Haro.