HILLFORTS OF ASTURIES: CUAÑA HILLFORT.

The hillforts were fortified villages concentrated population of these regions during the centuries before its conquest by Rome (29-19 BC). Under imperial rule kept an important occupation as a result of imperial interest in the gold mines so abundant in the mountains of western Asturies.

The hillfort of Cuaña is the most popular of those hillforts are known in Asturies thanks to its early discovery and large area excavated along almost two hundred years of archaeological work. Like many of the hillforts in the region, it was known from ancient times. Literary references allusion to the ruins and its possible origins date back to the early nineteenth century. Since then there have been sporadic interventions, with varying degrees of success, have helped shape its current appearance and make it the iconographic paradigm fortified settlement of the Iron Age.

The first documented excavations with some rigor were those of José María Flórez in 1877, whose work intervention in twenty long construction and surface recognition of some other follows. Already in this century research is taken up by Antonio García y Bellido and Juan Uría prolonging its activity in Cuaña between 1940 and 1944. In 1959 he is Francisco Jorda who initiates new exploration that will last until 1961 when the site takes on an aspect very similar to the one presented today. In the last two decades, the Principality of Asturies has sponsored various interventions to improve knowledge and quality of the visit to the site.

Since 1993 hillfort has a Interpretation Center which shows the evolution of the Celtic culture from its origin to contact with the Roman world, when the exploitation of gold will play a decisive role in the history of these villages.

The hillfort was built on a small hill and bordered by a thick wall which precedes around its perimeter a pit dug into the rock and now hidden beneath the ruins of the ancient walls. Until recently it was considered that the foundation of the settlement had occurred during the first century AD, already under Roman rule, with precisely the intention of accommodating individuals associated with gold mining. However, recent excavations have shown that their creation is much older, dating back at least to the fourth century BC, that is about 400 years before its conquest by Rome.

Currently you can visit more than 80 fully excavated houses.

The most unique core of the town is undoubtedly the so-called Sacred Precinct. It lies at the foot of the Acropolis on a small terrace that rises above the driveway. The ruins are actually two similar buildings that followed in time characterized by the vaulted roof of one of their cameras, semicircular headers, using ovens, rock-cut channels and a huge tub carved in granite. They are unique buildings forts northwest of the Iberian Peninsula (Portugal, Galicia and Asturies) that were interpreted long as crematory ovens. Today its use is supported as saunas for rituals dating back to the fourth century BC although they lasted, with modifications, to the first century AD.

Other attractions are the walls and guard-that flank the entrance to the village, several groups of huts circular floor, oblong and rectangular some of which retain benches and home furnishings as circular mills and stones with pipe bowls, used as mortars and are characteristic of the forts Navia valley.

Author:

Angel B. Villa Valdés, former director of the Archaeological Park of the Navia valley

Source:

Web of the City council of Cuaña – Asturies

Spanish to English translation:

Fernán Morán.

Pictures:

1st.- Panoramic view of Cuaña hillfort. Source: Asturies official tourism website

2nd.- Panoramic view of Cuaña hillfort. Source: La Nueva España newspaper

3rd.- Panoramic view of Cuaña hillfort. Source: Asturias official tourism website

4th.- Some roundhouses of Cuaña hillfort. Source: siemprenorte.

5th.- Stone mortar in a roundhouse in Cuaña hillfort. Source: saposyprincesas,com

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