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A Visigoth necropolis found near Grañón and the Camino

Felipe

Veteran Member
The archaeologists who carry out the inspection and possible rescue prior to the expansion of the A-12 motorway, between Santo Domingo de la Calzada and Villamayor have found a huge Visigothic necropolis, from VI or VII century, near Grañón (first thought was that they have discovered a mass grave from the Spanish Civil War, but not...). See newspaper note here.
Precise place is not indicated, but, seeing the photos, it was possibly here (in Google Maps, look at a distinctive building and Grañón's church in the background). If my guess is right, it is close to the Camino, a short distance after we leave the current highway to the left and follow the local road to the village.
This suggests that the Camino follows a very, very old route. I hope that at some point a museum will be established; I guess that besides human remains, there will be ceramics, weapons, etc.
 
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biarritzdon

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Extraordinary find, in plain view.
 
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cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
Yes thanks for an informative post. I can use the document as good spanish practice.!!??
 

JabbaPapa

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This suggests that the Camino follows a very, very old route.
At that particular point, it's the old Roman road -- which the Visigoths would have used too !!

(though I've seen some interesting suggestions recently that much of the old Roman roads network was built upon the basis of an older Celtic roads network -- certainly in France ; less sure about that particular area of Spain though, which was Basque not Celtic)
 

Kathar1na

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it's the old Roman road -- which the Visigoths would have used too !!
I would have given you a whole-hearted "like" if you hadn't mentioned a "Celtic roads network" in your post. 🙃

And thanks, @Felipe, for posting about these interesting news.
 

scruffy1

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For reading addicts like me try "Visigothic Spain 409-711 A History of Spain by Rodger Collins unbelievably expensive now try an academic library. For a quick overview try this short video
and if that was intriguing try
 

Pelegrin

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I would have given you a whole-hearted "like" if you hadn't mentioned a "Celtic roads network" in your post. 🙃

And thanks, @Felipe, for posting about these interesting news.
Yes, there isn't any Celtic alphabet. That means small trade and therefore a Celtic roads network before the Romans is unlikely.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
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Also this podcast:
 

Kathar1na

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a Celtic roads network before the Romans is unlikely
Do you have any idea what will happen with the site near Grañon? Will it be protected as an archaeological site or will it eventually disappear under roadworks?
 

Pelegrin

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Do you have any idea what will happen with the site near Grañon? Will it be protected as an archaeological site or will it eventually disappear under roadworks?
Sorry, I didn't know anything about the Grañon site.
Actually, I am learning on this Forum about the Visigoths many things that I didn't know.
I know better the Suebi.
 

Kathar1na

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I am learning on this Forum about the Visigoths many things that I didn't know
I can definitely say: "Same here"! I put necropolis visigoda into Google and was surprised that there are such sites in Spain that can be visited. I'll try to post the link: More images for necropolis. I had no idea.
 

VNwalking

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I put necropolis visigoda into Google and was surprised that there are such sites in Spain that can be visited. I'll try to post the link: More images for necropolis. I had no idea.
I was astonished when doing a virtual Viejo/Olvidado how many such places there are.
There's a whole website devoted to medieval necropolis sites; some, of these may be older, I'm not sure:

And wow - one thing that popped up when I did that search you suggested. Look at this! There's a lot out there.
Capture.PNG

One particular goldmine is this amazing PDF:
 
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Pelegrin

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I can definitely say: "Same here"! I put necropolis visigoda into Google and was surprised that there are such sites in Spain that can be visited. I'll try to post the link: More images for necropolis. I had no idea.
In theory after Leovigildo and Recaredo the cemeteries admitted also Hispanos. That can explain the big number of graves.
 

JabbaPapa

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I would have given you a whole-hearted "like" if you hadn't mentioned a "Celtic roads network" in your post. 🙃


"The early Celts created a trading centre of their own near the source of the Danube river in 625BC. It was the most important trading location in the Celtic world for around 150 years; by 450 BC, the Celts expanded their trading network throughout Europe and traded in luxury goods. At this time, the Celts created the famous Tin Road which began in Massalia and spread to Britain and the Amber Road through the Moravian Gate into modern day Danzig.

Yet this road building skill was not only used for long distance trade; historian Graham Robb analysed the positioning of Celtic towns in Ireland, France and Britain and found the Celts had positioned them deliberately to mirror the paths of their Sun God in what has now been called the ‘most accurate map in the ancient world’. The Romans probably based their road building on what the Celts did and with a lack of written language to outline their achievements, what they did was lost in the mists of time
"


"‘This is the first time anyone has identified an engineered road in several phases, clearly constructed before the Romans arrived. It's entirely unique.

‘The traditional view currently is that the Romans came over to Britain, built the roads and civilised the people. But we have found that this road was built before the Romans invaded.

‘Indeed, the road thought to have been Roman seems to have been built on top of the Iron Age road that was already there.’

The cobbled road, which was built from elder wood, silt and cobbles, stretches around 1,000ft but it is thought to have been part of a route that might have been up to 40 miles long.

Experts believe it was originally a Bronze Age and early-to-mid Iron Age livestock droveway, which was transformed into a fully-surfaced highway in the first century BC.

The road, which is surfaced with cobbles, was cambered to allow good drainage and even has a kerb fence system to hold the edge in place.

It was rebuilt twice with a fresh layer of silt and stones before the Romans invaded.

The road continued to be used after the conquest, into the second century AD, with surviving ruts suggesting it was used by carts laden with goods.

It was discovered near to Shrewsbury by a team of archaeologists led by Mr Malim, from the UK environmental planning consultancy SLR.
"
 

Kathar1na

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Look at this! There's a lot out there.
A great find for putting this into context! If I am not mistaken, Grañon is between 23 and 24.

Visigoths.jpg
 
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Pelegrin

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Kathar1na

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I know really very little about the Visigoths and the paths their troops took. I am taking the EN Wikipedia by their word and it seems that the Visigoths came from somewhere east and then trundled along the Mediterranean coasts, sacking Rome on the way I think, then having a bit of a kingdom in the South of France for a while before settling in Hispania for good, so not exactly following a classic Camino de Santiago road, whether pre-Roman or not. ☺

Visigoths.jpg
 

Pelegrin

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I know really very little about the Visigoths and the paths their troops took. I am taking the EN Wikipedia by their word and it seems that the Visigoths came from somewhere east and then trundled along the Mediterranean coasts, sacking Rome on the way I think, then having a bit of a kingdom in the South of France for a while before settling in Hispania for good, so not exactly following a classic Camino de Santiago road, whether pre-Roman or not. ☺

View attachment 79876
It is thought that 100.000 Visigoths entered Hispania men, women and children. So, it was a long journey for so many people.
The population of Hispania was 6.000.000 at that time.
 
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Felipe

Veteran Member
Do you have any idea what will happen with the site near Grañon? Will it be protected as an archaeological site or will it eventually disappear under roadworks?
I would not elaborate this, buy my guess is that the archaeologist in charge have mounted a media savvy campaign to get funds for the study of the necropolis and the establishment of a museum. Generally speaking, Spain governments are very receptive to the conservation of historic patrimony, but current times, as you can imagine, are tough. The site could be declared (or not) a Bien de Interés Cultural; if this is the case, the implications for the construction of the adjacent highway will be quite significative (I guess part of the necropolis is actually below the current motorway...) As a minimun, the site will be thoroughly researched, the remains catalogued and preservated (ancient bones are fragile) and translated to a safe place. We will see just a sign with a brief explanation or, hopefully, a museum in Grañón. That remains to be seen...
 
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Kathar1na

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So, many of us walked past this dig during the last four years without knowing anything about it. "About four years ago eight tombs were found in this section" and "the location of these tombs is no surprise, since, prior to the excavation, in 2013, a survey campaign was carried out, so the location of these remains is known since then". Some 35 tombs out of a total of 90 have been dug up so far and the work to excavate the rest "is expected to take about two weeks" and then the contents will be removed for anthropology studies.

Source: EFE
 

Shades of Narnia

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For reading addicts like me try "Visigothic Spain 409-711 A History of Spain by Rodger Collins unbelievably expensive now try an academic library. For a quick overview try this short video
and if that was intriguing try
Thank you, the video is great! fondly sandi
 

AlwynWellington

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Camino(s) past & future
please see signature
Do you have any idea what will happen with the site near Grañon? Will it be protected as an archaeological site or will it eventually disappear under roadworks?
The google maps link, along with this from WayMarkedTrails.org (WMT) are helpful.
The google maps images are from 2018 and show the soil quite undisturbed.
The WMT map shows a thick red line: this marks the Camino route.
As @Felipe says, the route begins to veer left towards Granon.
The WMT map also shows a new AutoVia (pink and white markings) starting about about the word "heritage" in the sidebar and extending westwards.

Using that and the first image suggests to me, at least, the burials were found only because of the work on new motorway.
 

Kathar1na

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The google maps images are from 2018 and show the soil quite undisturbed.
Well, the mayor of Grañón says that some four years ago eight tombs were discovered there, and I have no reason to doubt his word, the leader of the archeology team says that they did exploration probes in 2013 and knew about it since then, plus there's a history/archaeology publication on academia.edu, published in 2016, about this earlier discovery with photos.

In this 2016 publication, they mention eight tombs with nine individuals buried in them, and the photos of these are identical to those seen now, same positions with crossed arms etc, and it is the exact same location. So I suppose they dug it up and covered it again at the time. Hence my question what might happen now. As the site is so huge, I'd hope that it might be preserved in such a way that it can be viewed.

When we walked to Grañon, we took the path that is parallel to the carriage way and not the more scenic one to the left through the fields, so we literally walked past this site, within a few hundred metres.

Google Mendicidad_y_peregrinacion_en_el_Camino.pdf, the article about the Grañon site starts on page 193.
 
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Kathar1na

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The news articles may make it sound as if they started work on the motorway and ooops what's this looks like old skeletons ☺. But that's not how it works. I know that in Italy there are private companies who employ archaeologists, and they are called in by the authorities to do an archaeological assessment and investigation before major earthworks even start. It seems to be similar in Spain.
 
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