New blogs

Leherensuge was replaced in October 2010 by two new blogs: For what they were... we are and For what we are... they will be. Check them out.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Archaeologist Idoia Filloy against the destruction of Iruña-Veleia

J. M. Elexpuru published yesterday night
an article of Idoia Filloy, co-director of the previous archaeological team, Lurmen, where she denounces the atrocity that is being perpetrated against which is possibly the most important Vasco-Roman site.

The article is in Spanish and it is too long for me to translate integrally but I will provide here some of the most important passages:

Parcel 98 [see map] is where work has begun, planned to affect 17,000 m². In this area, thanks to air photography carried by us, it is known the existence of a dense network of structures, clearly visible from air, thanks to the shadows that differential vegetation growth projects, which trace a whole urban network under the soil. Also, in 2006, our team -under the direction of Eliseo Gil and myself- carried 13 stratigraphic probes that showed the existence in this parcel of a most rich archaeological patrimony of Roman and pre-Roman age. We could assess how, under a layer of agricultural disturbance of some 30 cm. on average, intact Roman archaeological remains appeared, with strata and structures to which abundant materials were associated. (...)

However Núñez' Director Plan contemplates the mechanical elimination with heavy machinery of 50 cm. of earth potency in 14,000 m² of the site, estimating a removal of some 7000 m³ of soil. The Plan itself admits the risks of such an actuation, because of the possibility of affection to layers of archaeological interest (...)

But the worst has happened when field work has begun, that is when the mechanical elimination of soil was started. And that is because not only the planned 50 cm. have been removed but in many cases more than 1 m. has been excavated with heavy machinery. (...) We can see clearly in the photographs how the mechanical excavation has not just affected structures but that has eliminated vast archaeological layers, what has caused the irreparable loss of most important archaeological information, fundamental for the reconstruction of the historical sequence of the site, as well as of associated materials. There is even a zone where a Roman pavement at a depth of more than 1 m. has been exposed, and I ask: where are occupation archaeological layers, the collapse remains or whatever it had on top? (...)

The feeling one gets is that the goal is to reach the archaeological structures (at whatever depth they were) as if the objective was to offer in the shortest possible term a wide zone with visible constructions. (...)

I must remind that this zone is one of the areas where the so-called exceptional graffiti were found, both on the surface as in three of the stratigraphic probes, what means that the mechanical excavation of the area would cause the destruction of evidence for a possible future judicial investigation.

One of the many controversial exceptional graffiti, in this shard, found in parcel 98, we can read NEU ('I' or 'me' in Basque)

Therefore it is my opinion as experienced archaeologist (...) that a flagrant destruction of the patrimony of Iruña-Veleia is being carried. And in a few days more the level of affection would be even greater if nobody intervenes. I believe that excavating as is being done here means destroying severely and permanently the underlying patrimony.

Hence this text is an express denounce of what, in my opinion, is a grave attack against our Patrimony and I request to the responsible public institutions to act accordingly and not to tolerate something like this.

Additionally, to the judicial denounce presented by SOS Iruña-Veleia association we have added now our own.

Further reading:
Send emails of protest to: (Provincial Government) and (Provincial Direction of Historical-Artistic and Archaeological Patrimony).

Update (Jul 20): I have been suggested to send protests also to the Basque Government - Direction of Patrimony. No direct email available but there is a suggestion box of the Department of Culture HERE.

No comments: