They discover majestic medieval castle in the depths of a Spanish forest

Finding is possibly from the time of the early Middle Ages, they point out.

Photo: ALEX MITA/AFP/Getty Images

Archaeologists from the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC) They located a castle that remains mostly hidden under the dense vegetation of a mountain in Galicia. The discovery of Castro Valente, which appears to be one of the 20 largest fortified enclosures in the northwest of the peninsula, is possibly from the early Middle Ages, they point out.

Although it is not possible to determine exactly when this building dates from, archaeologists Mário Fernández-Pereiro and José Carlos Sánchez-Pardo from the University of Santiago de Compostela, calculate that there could be agreement on dates close to the end of the Roman Empire and the beginning of the High Middle Ages (S. V-VII).

On the sidelines, Fernández-Pereiro, highlights the incorporation of "the new technologies that we have in archeology such as drone flights, combined with the classic methodology of archaeological excavation and prospecting" to delve into the secrets of the fortress that occupies some 25 hectares of land.

Concerned about its state of conservation

Castro Valente is located on a hillock of 1,300 meters of altitude. Despite not being the highest in the area, it is very recognizable, since it is a solitary hill without any nearby elevation. The Ulloa River surrounds its north face. The top is flat and resembles the shape of a kidney.

Nevertheless, the remains of the newly rediscovered fortress have been badly damaged by reforestation and fires. Furthermore, the remnants of the compound are now under threat from the imminent installation of four wind turbines, six electrical pylons and an electrical substation.

Archaeologists also complain that the state of conservation and the dense vegetation -which includes pines and acacias- make it very difficult to identify the structures. “[Solo es] possible to locate and document… the main access to the site, which is located in the southwestern sector of the fortified complex”.

During the excavation of the site, evidence of bricks and tiles from Roman times was found, as well as small fragments of red paste ceramics. All this material has appeared fragmented and close to the surface, especially in the damaged areas close to the traces of fires.

“[Éstos] They are only the first and exciting steps to determine the true nature of this unique fortified enclosure”, they conclude.

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