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Port of Cultures restores 358 pieces that reflect 2000 years of history of the Forum Neighborhood (05/12/2017)

The project of excavation, restoration and enhancement of the Roman Forum, funded by the Repsol Foundation, promoted by the City of Cartagena and managed by Cartagena Port of Cultures, continues to advance in its phases III and IV, whose execution is being carried out in a joint and whose culmination will be the building that houses the museographic collection, which will explain the evolution of the hill through its 2000 years of history.

The mayor of Cartagena, Ana Belén Castejón, and the vice president of the Repsol Foundation, Ignacio Egea, visited the warehouse on Tuesday in which work is being carried out on the restoration of the pieces found in this site, in which they have known the most important mouths of the directors of the excavation, José Miguel Noguera and María José Madrid, and the director of the restoration team, Izaskun Martínez.

Some works that represent a breakthrough in the enhancement of the Barrio del Foro Romano, "jewel of the crown in terms of archaeological heritage is concerned," said the mayor, who thanked the work of the Repsol Foundation and the team of work of Port of Cultures.

Some pieces that come to demonstrate the wealth of heritage that exists in the municipality and "how much the Barrio del Foro will talk about".

The technical team has reviewed the entire collection resulting from the archaeological interventions carried out in the Molinete from the 70s of the 20th century to the present, selecting a set of 358 pieces grouped in 9 historical milestones that reflect the evolution of the hill.

Over 7 months a team of 5 restorers led by Martinez, have undertaken interventions in these objects of diverse inorganic nature such as ceramics, metals, glass, marble and wall paintings, as well as organic such as bone and wood.

The ultimate goal of these conservative works has been to restore the material stability and stop the processes of deterioration that jeopardize the durability of archaeological objects if you do not act with certain speed.

The idea is to host this material in a historical sequence in which the museographic tour will take place, organized on three floors of the building, starting from the nineteenth-twentieth centuries, to go down throughout history to reach the third century BC


The pieces under restoration that would explain the evolution of the hill have been, 27 objects associated with the XIX-XX centuries, where we find pieces of domestic tableware, smoking pipes, games and objects related to the health and hygiene of the people who gave life to the windlass.

A modern period corresponds to a material repertoire composed of 25 pieces in which we find the dishes of the homes of the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, with imported pieces from different points of the peninsular geography, as well as resulting from trade with the Americas.

A set of 55 pieces of different nature demonstrate the existence of an artisan neighborhood, located outside the walled city of the city of the VI-VII centuries.

This population maintains the traditions of the families that settled in the area in the 5th century, with 18 pieces that refer to their trades, domestic crockery and objects of personal dress and adornment.


The broadest material set is made up of 91 pieces corresponding to the III-IV centuries, at which time the great buildings of the high-imperial period -themes, the Atrium Building, the Isis sanctuary, the forum ...- were abandoned.

To this period correspond the paintings of two Muses of medium format, Terpsícore and Kalíope, and Apolo, in addition to the text of the Atrium Building reform in the time of the Emperor Heliogábalo that allows to date the pieces.

In addition, domestic crockery, containers for trade and storage of wine, oil and other products from the Mediterranean area, skylights, objects related to grooming, dress and personal adornment, tools for the work of the land, the hinges of the furniture, the stirrups of the beams, as well as the most representative coins of this period.

For the I-II centuries there are 119 selected pieces, at which time the buildings of the Barrio del Foro Romano are at full capacity;

It is mainly architectural elements, sculptural fragments, texts written in stone, bronze objects corresponding to the decoration of the interior of these buildings that are accompanied by domestic utensils of the time, and pieces of great significance as a sula related to the rites of divination, the grille of a window of the Atrium Building, the hinges of the folding chairs used by the senators in the curia.

Finally, 22 pieces of domestic use, some of them imported from the eastern Mediterranean area, explain the first occupation of the hill in the III-II BC centuries.


Cleaning, desalination, consolidation and fragment adhesion treatments have been applied to ceramic objects, which has made it possible to fully or partially recover the multiple types.

On the other hand we can highlight the work done on wall paintings which has led to an exhaustive previous investigation with the characterization of mortars and pigments through analytical as well as photographs with infrared and ultraviolet techniques.

Once this phase of the study was finished, the main actions consisted of cleaning, consolidation and transfer to a new support that allows its exhibition.

In the same way we must review the works on metal objects consisting mostly of bronze and iron.

In this case the main work has been the stabilization of the material with the application of chemical techniques that slow down corrosion.

In this way, customized packages have been made with inert materials and control of environmental conditions in each of the objects of the collection.

At the same time, the excavations in the terraces of the Forum directed by José Miguel Noguera and by M. José Madrid are progressing and began last July.

On the upper terrace, where the temple would probably be found, probably dedicated to the deified emperor, as shown by the coins of the first century minted in Carthago Nova, the boundaries of the great platform on which the previous temple was located have been identified. what allows to know the level in which it was the same.

However, there are no preserved remains that we can associate with the cult building as it is destroyed by the buildings built in the area since the 16th century.

This has allowed to excavate the construction fillings of this platform and know the construction system used, as well as the buildings that were intentionally razed to create a new plant, this public space that becomes the key element of the first century city And next.

In the lower terrace, the excavations carried out in recent months have allowed the communication stairs between the two platforms to be completed and, above all, to document the existence of a large altar or tribune that would preside over the whole, providing it with a great set design.

Source: Ayuntamiento de Cartagena

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