The latest archaeological investigations place the seat of the Council (City Hall) of Alcalá in the surroundings of the Torre Mocha del Castillo during the late Middle Ages.

Erchaeologist Enrique Luis Domínguez has developed a conference on the municipal archaeological campaigns 2021/2024 in the Castle that not only have offered interesting insights into the subsoil, but especially on the emerging structures (towers and walls) of the Torre Mocha and the Alcázar Real. The delegate of Heritage emphasizes the importance of knowing and disseminating the local heritage as a tool for material and immaterial protection, as a monument and identity.

The most recent history of the Castle of Alcalá, with the research studies of the City Council alcalareño, has been the protagonist of the conference ‘Castillo de Alcalá de Guadaíra. Archaeological Campaigns 2021/2024’ held at the Museum of Alcalá by the archaeologist and Doctor of History Enrique Luis Domínguez, who has advanced interesting and new aspects such as “the buildings attached to the Mocha Tower that could correspond to the ‘corral of the Council’, where the Council (City Council) had its headquarters during the late Middle Ages”.

This is one of the most recent results of the archaeological research work in the Cerro del Castillo, since although the study and work in this area have been carried out systematically, especially in the last 25 years, archaeological tools and techniques are advancing and allow for greater knowledge. In fact, in the last campaign, the photogrammetric survey technique has been incorporated, which even makes it possible to obtain three-dimensional models useful for determining shapes and extracting measurements.

According to the municipal delegate of Heritage and Museums, Christopher Rivas, this type of conferences are organized by the City Council because they are “a great opportunity to know better and first hand one of our best known historical symbols, present in the collective imagination of everyone when thinking of Alcalá, and highlight the importance, for institutions and for the identity of the population itself, to know, protect, preserve and disseminate our tangible and intangible heritage as symbols of identity. In addition, directly from the hand of one of the experts who has worked the most in our fortified enclosure.

In the conference, which was attended by students of the Aula Abierta de Mayores, the archaeologist detailed the complexity of the studies as the Castle Hill is a large space in which different elements converge, from the monumental to the archaeological, in the middle of a living neighborhood and other urban elements that over the centuries have experienced different phases of both construction and use.

Regarding the research of the Mocha Tower, Domínguez emphasized that in previous research, especially in 1989, studies of the walls or towers (emerging structures) were not usually carried out, but were more focused on the excavations of the subsoil, so that the current work offers new perspectives of knowledge. That is why, among other results, he emphasized that the fact that there were buildings attached to the façade of the Alcazaba (built by closing spaces towards the first half of the 15th century), means that it had lost its military character, and how the discovery of a heraldic emblem of the Crown of Castile allows us to interpret this space as an area of royal representation, which would rule out a private housing character for the attached buildings.

Another interesting aspect is the location of an altar-chapel dedicated to Santa María del Águila, known from historical documentation but not located until the recent archaeological intervention. This altar had pictorial decoration, lost at the beginning of the 20th century. In addition, this latest research in this area has recovered a significant number of late medieval and modern (14th / 18th century) ceramic pieces, a period of the fortified enclosure little known to date.

In the works, not yet closed, of the Royal Alcazar, seven construction phases from the Middle Ages onwards stand out. This sector is the core of the monumental enclosure, ‘noble area’ of the castle and seat of the fortress, with unique elements such as the Keep or the Gate of Betrayal. Previous research pointed to a late medieval origin, but for the first time a stretch of canvas has been detected that can be traced back to the Almohad period. It has also been possible to document a set of cruciform pillars regularly arranged inside the fortress, which offered a diaphanous space with representational functions. Also, the existence of an upper floor of the enclosure, as well as the compartmentalization of the same to have different rooms, leaving the Torre del Homenaje as the center of the late medieval building.

The studies carried out, with bibliographic documentation, plans and graphic documents, in addition to the surveys, offer an interesting insight into the history of Alcalá, in which the City Council shows its commitment to continue.

The Castle of Alcalá has been declared a historic-artistic monument since 1924, and is currently declared an Asset of Cultural Interest and considered an archaeological site included in the inventory of Archaeological Sites of Andalusia.