Turismo de Alcalá de Guadaíra

Roman Period


After the Roman conquest, Alcalá's area was included in the Ulterior Baetica province, with capital in Corduba (nowadays Córdoba), and regional capital in Hispalis (nowadays Seville). The Roman period's most highlighted feature is the complete reorganization of the agricultural economy, especially from the 1st century CE, through the introduction of the villae system.

Each villae was an agricultural independent exploitation, resulting from the division of the territory in plots distributed among colonists of Italic or Roman origin. This system would spread out throughout the Early Roman Empire (1st- 3rd centuries CE), favouring the conversion of the Baetica in one of the "granaries of the Empire".

At the zone of Alcalá there is archaeological evidence that indicates the possible presence of a Roman villa. Among them, we have to highlight the Torre de la Membrilla site or the villa located near Pelay Correa, with mosaics and productive zones. Another settlement of certain importance was placed at the present road to Morón, in El Rosalejo, where an important deposit of amphorae, pottery receptacles used to transport agricultural products has been recovered.

Remains of the Villa de las Canteras in Gandul
Remains of the "Villa de las Canteras" in Gandul

The villae were dedicated to the whole agricultural cycle, including zones of storage of raw materials (olives, wheat and grapes) and zones of production (mills, oil presses, winepresses...) Next to the productive zone, many villae had a residential area, which would turn as time went by the agricultural landscape into authentic rural residences for the most powerful social classes.

The agricultural economy was principally based on the commerce of the land products. This commerce used to be carried out using river transport, much cheaper than by land. We do not know if River Guadaíra was navigable in the Roman period, but the presence of some potter's workshops on its banks seems to indicate that it was.

Along with the rural settlements, urban population centres were also developed at that moment. At Los Alcores, Carmo's great urban growth (nowadays Carmona) takes place, being this town of Pre-Roman origin. Mesa de Gandul is also definitively developed, extending its outer walls and reusing the surrounding funerary zone, with monumental tombs like the Circular Mausoleum. In spite of this urban importance, we do not know the name of the Roman town of Mesa de Gandul, once older theories like Hienipa or Lucurgentum have been dismissed.

Roman Period Quarry (Gandul)
Roman Period Quarry (Gandul)

The Castle Hill would also have been occupied during the Roman period, possibly a minor settlement, as the archaeological findings seem to point out; these findings consist on some ceramic remains and some undetermined constructions dated from Early Roman Empire.

During the Roman period, the road network is also improved through the building of the viae, roads especially dedicated to imperial communications and transport of troops. Starting from Hispalis, the road to Antikaria (today Antequera) went by near Mesa de Gandul, with a similar route to the present Seville-Malaga Highway. This concern for infrastructures had a singular example in the water canalization from the Santa Lucia fountain (next to River Guadaíra) to Hispalis through a complex system of underground channels, which emerge a few kilometers before the capital city in an aqueduct that supplied water to the city for several centuries.Hispalis

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Interesting Spots

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