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This is a very special site for me. I can express this way my perception of reality through these photo image creations and share them with you as if you were at my home.

A sauce with a lot of history in southern Spain
Wednesday, October 2, 2019 @ 11:53 AM

      Last June, the University of Cadiz resumed its studies on the Garum (a sauce much appreciated in the Roman Empire) in Bolonia (Cádiz,Costa de la Luz, Southwest of Andalusia).

Cadiz University

Roman people

The area of Bolonia on the right side

      In that area of Bolonia are the ruins of the Roman city of Baelo Claudia, built in the 2nd century BC.

Mockup of Baelo Claudia

Another mockup

Aerial view of Baelo Claudia currently

The cove of Bolonia from its dunes

Ruins of Baelo Claudia​​​​​​​

      Researchers of the research group HUM-440 of the University of Cádiz and the Archaeological Ensemble of Baelo Claudia of the Junta de Andalucía have discovered two complete Roman salazone factories (named “Cetaria”), in an excellent state of conservation, in Baelo Claudia. It is the first time that organic remnants of salted tuna have been documented throughout the Ancient World (called “salsamentum” by the Romans), thanks to the discovery of skins inside some pools.

The two factories close to the sand of the beach​​​​​​​

The two factories up close

      In August-2017, the archaeological campaign of the general project of maritime economics and fishery activities, in Baelo Claudia, was finished, directed by Professor Darío Bernal Casasola, from the Archeology area of the University of Cádiz. After more than a month of excavations, the study has been completed, in the fishing-canning district of the Hispano-Roman city of Baelo Claudia, one of the most important archaeological sites, in the western Mediterranean.

The Professor Bernal​​​​​​​

Archaelogical excavation in the fishing neighbourhood of Baelo Claudia​​​​​​​

Aerial view of some basins for making Garum​​​​​​​

      The findings have been "spectacular", according to its promoters, and are part of the Industrial Complex XI and XII (the two canned fish industries), unknown until the beginning of this latest work, where the most accurate methods of excavation and study have been applied, in the face of reconstruction of the type of food produced there, between the 1st century and the 5th century AD. It is an interdisciplinary research, still rare in the Humanities field, through which archaeological (micro-spatial excavation), archaeozoological (studies of the fish bones appeared), palynological (analysis of the remains of pollen) and archaeometric (chemical analysis of organic waste, among others) analysis have been done.

      Likewise, the Garum (sauce derived from the fermentation of fish in saline medium) has been studied, through residues of its manufacture, still intact, at the base of some amphoras.

      The last month of June the archaeological excavation of the two canned fish industries (known as the XI and XII industrial complexes) was completed. This work has lasted four years and incorporates an interdisciplinary study of its structures, with the most modern techniques ranging from biomolecular archeology to the study of organic waste adhered to the walls of saltwater basins. In these, the tuna was salted and the famous sauce (Garum) was produced, that so much fame gave to these Andalusian lands, in Rome and in all the corners of the Empire.

Basins for Garum​​​​​​​

The same basins up close​​​​​​​

Another basins for Garum​​​​​​​

The basins up close​​​​​​​

Excavation of a basin​​​​​​​

      Researchers from the University of Cádiz, after years of study, have come up with the formula of garum and market it, under the name of Flor de Garum, since 2014.

Cooking Garum​​​​​​​

Sauce Flor de Garum​​​​​​​

      The research, carried out in Baelo Claudia, has allowed, for the first time in the world, to locate remains of salted tuna meat, from Roman times (called salsamenta by the Romans) or to determine the importance and uniqueness of local fish sauces, such as the garum of hedgehogs or the one made with aligotes.

One Aligote

      Likewise, they have made it possible to determine with precision the system of specialised quartering of the tunas, which today we call 'ronqueo', and which has its roots, at least, in Roman times. And to know, in detail, the exploitation of marine resources, in the waters of the strait, over time: from the exploitation of cetaceans to the use of mollusks for the production of fish sauces, such as the famous oyster garum;  from shark fishing to the elaboration of fishmeal and fish oils.

Ronqueo in the fish market of Barbate (Cadiz)​​​​​​​

      These studies place Baelo Claudia at the international forefront of the knowledge of the exploitation of marine resources, once again. In fact, in these field studies, more than twenty researchers have collaborated, in addition to doctoral students and students in training from Spain, Argentina, Ecuador, Italy, France and Mexico. These studies are supported and funded by research projects of the Ministry of Culture of the Junta de Andalucía and the State Plan for R + D + i of the Ministry of Science and Innovation, with the collaboration of more than a dozen universities and research centers, from several countries.

      The study of the tuna bones of a pit has made it possible to reconstruct the system of selective cutting of these large animals, very similar to the "ronqueo" that is still being carried out, in a perfectionist way, in the tuna bed of the Strait of Gibraltar. And fishing gear and iron tools related to the cutting and filleting of these large migrators have also appeared.

Remains of tuna bones​​​​​​​

      These findings "are extremely relevant because, due to their organic nature, they are not usually kept in the archaeological record, since it is a unicum and Baelo Claudia is one of the most important places in the world for knowledge of fishery and canning industry from Roman times, base of the craft traditions that have been maintained, in the Strait of Gibraltar, until scarce generations ago", according to Professor Bernal.

A part of the excavations​​​​​​​

Another view of the excavations​​​​​​​

Salting factory​​​​​​​

The salting factories in the background​​​​​​​

      Strolling through its streets, we recognise, in the remains of Baelo Claudia, the best preserved Roman city, in Spain. All the representative elements that constitute the essence of a city of the Roman´s time are located: the forum, the temples, the basilica, the market, the theater, the thermal baths, the industrial district, the aqueducts, the complete wall ...

A map of the main monuments in Baelo Claudia​​​​​​​

A street in Baelo Claudia​​​​​​​

Another type of pavement​​​​​​​

Remains of the Forum or Public square​​​​​​​

The Forum up close​​​​​​​

The Basilica or Palace of Justice next to the Forum​​​​​​​

The Basilica up close

The Basilica from another angle​​​​​​​

The statue of Trajano from another angle

      Going down to the beach, you can find the two temples.

Some visitors looking at the ruins from one of the two temples​​​​​​​

The Temple dedicated to the Goddess Isis​​​​​​​

      Here below you can see first the remains of the two temples and, secondly, on the left, the Basilica; in the background and on the right side, the dunes of Bolonia.

The ruins of the two Temples​​​​​​​

The Temples up close​​​​​​​

      Now you can see the Market of Baelo Claudia:

Remains of the Market

The Cardo of the Market

Note: Cardo is a term used in urban planning in the Roman Empire. It denotes a north-south facing street.

Another view of the Market​​​​​​​

      Here below, you can see another representative element of Baelo Claudia: the Theater.

The Theater with the beach in the background

An aerial view of the Theater​​​​​​​

The Theater inside

The Theater from the stage​​​​​​​

The terraces of the Theater​​​​​​​

Performance of a play​​​​​​​

The actresses of the play​​​​​​​

      Just below, you can see the thermal baths:

The Thermal baths of Baelo Claudia  

 Another thermal baths

Other thermal baths up close

      Now you will see some images of another representative element of Baelo Claudia: the Industrial district.

Access to the industrial district

      Here you can see the residential area:

The residential area in the first place

Remains of some houses on the western edge of the city

A house of Baelo Claudia

Remains of domus

      Note: Domus is the Latin word with which a type of Roman house is known. The domus were the homes of families of a certain economic level, whose head of household bore the title of dominus.

      Another representative element of Baelo Claudia was the Aqueduct:

Aqueduct to transport drinking water

A general view of the aqueduct

      Another representative element of Baelo Claudia is The Wall:

A part of the Wall

      Outside the archaeological site of Baelo Claudia, you can see a very special tree, called Ombú, which is native to South America --and it is special, because it is unusual to see a tree like this in these latitudes--.

The Ombú

      This Ombú of Baelo Claudia has a spectacular size, with a height of 13 metres, a forked shaft a few metres from the ground and an exceptional thickness of 7.5 metres perimeter.

The Ombú from another angle

A restaurant with a parking on the left side of the picture

      You can see a picture of the remains of one of the doors to enter Baelo Claudia:

East gate of the wall​​​​​​​

      On the left side you can see the Ombú; in the right side you can see the Basilica and, in the background, you can see the dunes of Bolonia.

      To visit the ruins of Baelo Claudia, you can park your car in that parking lot and, next to it, you will see a square building, where you will see a small museum, with images of Baelo Claudia, and you can also purchase the tickets you need to visit the ruins. If you want to ask for tickets there, you can call to the telephone number:  956 106 797 –although I can tell you that tickets are free--. But if you want information and an appointment to go with a group, you have to call the phone: 956 106 793.

The entrance to the building museum​​​​​​​

Some amphoras in the Museum

In the right side of the building you start your visit

The building from the tour route to visit Baelo Claudia

The building from another angle

The Capitol area on the right side

The Basilica from the Capitol viewpoint​​​​​​​

The east gate

Another part of the tour route​​​​​​​

Another view of the tour route

The Theater  from the tour route

The Museum from another part of the tour route

The Isis Temple viewpoint

The Basilica in the left side

The Basilica in the right side​​​​​​​

Factories zone

Port zone​​​​​​​

The last ruins close to the dunes

Aerial view of the Bolonia area

      Well, I hope that you will like this article and hope that you can go to visit those interesting ruins of Baelo Claudia.

      Until my next post, kind regards,


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Like 0


mariadecastro said:
Saturday, October 5, 2019 @ 12:54 PM

Bolonia is magic!

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