1971 - 1974

The First Great Restoration of Baelo Claudia

Conjunto Arqueológico de Baelo Claudia

Work carried out by Alfonso Jimenez Martín (1971-1974).

Alfonso Jimenez's professional background
The documentation of the restoration work on the Baelo Claudia archaeological site carried out by the architect Alfonso Jimenez Martin (serving as an example of his work) has enabled us today to gain an insight into the architect's professional activity in the years between 1971 to 1974. However, in order to gain a better understanding of the architects work at the Baelo Claudia site it is first of all necessary to carry out an analysis of both the architect's professional background and the Baelo Claudia archaeological site of the 1960's.

Alfonso Jiménez Martín (Sevilla,1946), is a surveyor and architect who graduated at the University of Seville in 1971. He obtained a doctorate in 1977, after thorough training and extensive experience in the restoration of historic monuments.

From the year 1967, he had been involved in restoration work, assisting the architects Rafael Manzano Martos and Félix Hernández Giménez, chief architect of the Sixth Area of the National Heritage Defence Service. During this period, he participated in restoration work at Munigua and the amphitheatre of Italica, in collaboration with renowned professionals, such as Antonio Blanco Freijeiro, his thesis director and Theodor Hauschild, from whom he learnt about methodological approaches.

His extensive career includes work on a total of 65 monuments and archaeological sites in Western Andalusia.

He taught at the School of Technical Surveyors of Seville, the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of Seville and the Higher Technical School of Architects of Seville, where he obtained professorship from 1983. He then went on to obtain numerous accolades, such as awards from the guild of the Real Maestranza, the 1st Fibes Prize for rehabilitation, awarded by the Parliament of Andalusia, and in collaboration with Teresa Laguna, the National Prize for Restoration Work. From 1987, he was the twenty-sixth Chief Foreman at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Seville, and in 2003, among other achievements, became a member of the Royal Academy of Sciences of Seville.

Baelo Claudia in the early seventies.

Alfonso Jimenez first commenced work at Baelo Claudia in November 1971. His mission was to work on buildings discovered in the Roman city of Baelo Claudia, which had been excavated between 1917 and 1921 by Pierre Paris and his team at the "Ecole des hautes hispaniques Etudes ") and, from 1967, by his followers at the" Casa de Velázquez ".

On his arrival, the known areas of the city excavated at the beginning of the twentieth century (capitol, theatre, part of the Forum, part of the salting factories and the eastern necropolis) were broadened to include the paved square of the Forum, two side porticos with adjoining civil buildings and some thermal baths.

The "emerging" Basilica was still partly covered under a road for military use near the town of Bolonia, which had been built upon the Roman site.

Landmark work in the restoration of Baelo Claudia.
Alfonso Jimenez's work of restoration, consolidation and restitution at Baelo Claudia was undoubtedly the most important work that had been carried out in the Roman city to that date. It was accomplished with surprising expertise and judgement, worthy of consideration as a major milestone work and contribution to the value of an archeological site that has survived to this day, known as the Baelo Claudia Archeological site.

The Capitol, fountain and adjacent areas.

According to project specifications, the partial structures recovered from this area were restored with the aim of creating an authentic reproduction of the original Roman structures.

The clearing of the three temples and alterations to the course of water supply piping to the town of Bolonia were essential before work could commence.

Restoration of Temple B, or the Jupiter Temple, had to be carried out from the foundations, according to Alfonso Jimenez. In addition to its reconstruction, the staircase was shored at the back as a preventative and conservation measure.

The fountain and terrace wall with two staircases were restored to an appropriate height, providing an authentic reproduction of the original. The following plan from 1972 shows the project to be carried out in this area, which included the fountain, oratory area in front, the small shrines or sacellum, and the stairs either side of the wall that separates the upper and lower terrace.

The Forum.

The task of documenting all architectural elements before their removal prior to excavation of the forum proved to be arduous.

A file was created to record an enormous number of items found near the eastern portico of the forum before removal (up to 250 stone blocks), which included measurements and drawings and now serve as documented legacy.

The Basilica.

The reconstruction work carried out on the Basilica gave shape to the great number of blocks and architectural elements that had fallen in situ. This building was known at that time as the Southern Building (1971). The excavation performed by the researchers from Casa de Velazquez soon revealed that the building was one of civil use and of considerable size.

Alongside the work carried out by the archaeologists, Alfonso Jimenez's documentation of all architectural features prior to removal was essential.

In addition, trials in the treatment of stuccos of the building were carried out under the supervision of Jose Mesa Alanis, Director of the Restoration Laboratory of Italica.

After falling, many of the column tambours and jamb blocks had remained connected, facilitating the authenticity of the reconstruction work that was to be carried out.

This photograph, from the year 1974, provides an example of the outstanding work carried out by Alfonso Jiménez: the first Basilica anastylosis of the columns and door jambs in the eastern wing of the building.

The Thermal Baths.

After emergency intervention by the architect, sections of the baths building, excavated in 1969 and 1970 by the French organisation Casa de Velazquez, were consolidated and stabilized.

The photograph shows the bracings of several hypocaust arches (a raised floor under which warm air was circulated in order to heat the rooms within the baths). The whole building was cleared of vegetation and shored, and holes were filled in.

The surveys necessary for the restoration work carried out were based not only on technical architectural data, but also on the archaeological data available. Different stages of construction of different areas can be seen in this plan.

The information contained in this type of documentation therefore provided the basis from which a genuine restoration of the building could be achieved.

According to one emergency work report, in addition to the baths, the western section of wall was braced and shored on two occasions.

The Theatre.

Work on the Baelo Claudia theatre involved prior clearing of vegetation, which was required throughout the whole excavation and, in this case, even involved the clearing of trees.

Other initial work on this building was to demolish several of the many adjoining buildings.

The consolidation of the building throughout these years also required the support of arches and vaults, as well as the restoration of facades, all of which were highly susceptible to collapse.

The following plan shows the ground plan of the Baelo Claudia theatre, known as the Media Cavea (middle section stands), created in 1972 as documentation of the consolidation work.

The Aqueduct.

The valuable work carried out on the aqueduct consisted of the cleaning, consolidation and restoration of the section that passes alongside the Chorrera stream. This laid the foundations for later work on the site, which gave rise to the final restoration seen today and forms part of the beginning of the visitors circuit.

In the photograph, taken in the early seventies of the twentieth century, the large and small arches that mitigate the gradient caused by the course of the stream can be seen. To the right, a channel or Specum through which water circulated, is seen to be completely overturned and shored up in order to prevent its total colapse.

The experience gained from work on this aqueduct together with a certain professional drive encouraged Alfonso Jimenez to publish comprehensive research on the Baelo Claudia aqueduct, titled "Los acueductos de Bellone Claudia (Bolonia, Cádiz) (1973)". It provides us with a valuable contribution to our knowledge of the city of Baelo.

The survey featured within this article as an original document that accompanied the legacy documentation of the Baelo Claudia Archaeological site.

Its legacy
Today's legacy document contains almost all the detailed information of his works at Baelo Claudia; reports, files, drawings, slides, photographs and extensive surveys carried out from 1971 to 1974. It can be said that the legacy left by his work has been a very important asset in the interpretation of the visitors circuit seen today.

This sketch forms part of his work, as well as a planned reconstruction of the Western portico arch that was never completed, due to his dismissal in 1974. At the site of the portico, a large number of stone blocks found had been catalogued by him at the time.

In essence, this documentation provides an invaluable source of information on both the work carried out and that which could not be completed, revealing an enormous quantity of historical and technical information about the ancient city.

Its legacy is represented by the consolidation of the buildings along the visitors circuit: including part of the basilica anastylosis seen today and its restoration, the consolidation of the Capitol and elements of the northern part of the Forum, among which a fountain, the wall of contention of the upper terrace and the altar of the temples located on the exterior are found.

In addition, as already mentioned, the clearing of the baths, the hipocaustum and walls of the building and the consolidation of the Western section of the wall between the Gades door and the Theater were carried out during his time.

We also owe him a debt of gratitude for the first consolidation work on the performance building (theatre), the vaults of the vomitorium and the walls of the caveas (seating sections), as well as the clearing of vegetation and adjoining contemporary buildings carried out for this purpose.

In short, it can be said that part of the visitors circuit seen today is owed to work carried out with the wisdom and expertise of a professional who understood ancient architecture and was able to adapt, during times of difficulty and under a high work load, to the circumstances of an embryonic stage in the recovery of an archaeological site, which later would become the Baelo Claudia Archaeological site.

Persons and entities participating in the works of Alfonso Jiménez

- Surveyor: Román Queiro Filgueira.
- Main contractors: Juan Becerrra Romana, and. Tomas Reina Aguilar.
- Laborers, bricklayers and master stonemasons from Bolonia, Tarifa and surrounding areas.
- Alfonso García Martínez de Toledo, Engineer affiliated to the Directorate General of Fine Arts (designer of electrical assemblies).
- Armenco S.L., Electrical assembly service company.
- Laboratorio de Texsa S. A., for the study of conservation materials.
- José Luis Mesa Alanís, Manager of the Italica Restoration Laboratory (the study of Stucco for use in the Basilica).

Main sources consulted:

- Jiménez Martín, Alfonso (1974?): Report on restorations in Bellone Claudia (Tarifa. Cadiz) in a report on restorations directed by the architect Alfonso Jimenez Martin at archaeological sites in Western Andalusia, under the auspices of the General Commissariat for Archaeological excavations of the Department of Fine Arts.

- Martin Jimenez, Alfonso (1973): Restoration Project aqueduct Claudia Bellone. Tarifa. Cadiz

Note: Although in principle restoration work was projected along more than one section of the aqueduct, the summary report of his work above does not mention any work carried out along any other section. For this reason the exhibition focuses solely on the section of the Chorrera stream.

- Martin Jimenez, Alfonso (1972): Consolidation and restoration of the Baths and Walls. Tarifa. Cadiz.

-Jiménez Martin, Alfonso (1972): Draft of restoration of the fountain and the Belo aediculae (National Monument).

Conjunto Arqueológico de Baelo Claudia
Credits: Story

The first great restauration of Baelo Claudia

Organised by:
Conjunto Arqueológico de Baelo Claudia.
Consejería de Cultura de la Junta de Andalucía

Curated by: Conjunto Arqueológico de Baelo Claudia.
Texts: Conjunto Arqueológico de Baelo Claudia.
Photography: Legado Alfonso Jiménez Martín y Archivo del Conjunto Arqueológico de Baelo Claudia.
Digital Edition: Conjunto Arqueológico de Baelo Claudia.

Conjunto Arqueológico Baelo Claudia.

Credits: All media
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