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Castillo’s Roman past

Roman villa site in Castillo de la Duquesa, Manilva
Site of the Roman Villa in Castillo de la Duquesa

Besides the Castle itself the area boasts a Roman settlement dating back to a period of time spanning the First to the Fifth century AD. The settlement comprises a cemetery, villa, bathhouse and a fish processing facility which produced salted fish, mainly tuna, and a highly prized sauce made from fermented fish called garum, which was one of the chief sources of wealth in the area.

The thermal baths were sectioned into three distinct areas, with a cold, a temperate and a hot zone, which can be clearly seen to this day.

The fish factory was a major operation with a processing area, some 30 salting pools, and a marketplace with 26 shops around a central courtyard. Many earthenware amphora have been discovered which would have been used to store and transport the products.

The necropolis, or cemetery, features around 140 graves around half of which contained bodies and the other half cremated remains. Many items and artefacts were discovered interred along with the occupants including a bronze mirror, glass and metal jewellery, etc. Most of the bodies were discovered with money lodged in their mouths.

The whole area has been declared of historic importance by Spain’s heritage ministry and there are plans to create an archaeological park and visitor centre some time in the future.

In the meantime you can see many items from this and other sites in Manilva in the Castle’s museum.