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The City Council guarantees the continuity of the excavations in the almunia of Rey Lobo de Monteagudo, which are extended with a Phase II (14/09/2018)

The first findings of the excavation show that the Monteagudo lagoon is a third larger than initially believed, and would therefore be the first Arab lagoon in the whole Mediterranean, equating to the great pool of the Agdal of Marrakech .

A palatine area has been found on this 12th century recreational farm and a wall that could belong to a mosque, although excavations must continue to confirm this hypothesis.

The archaeological excavations that are taking place in the almunia del Rey Lobo in the vicinity of Castillejo de Monteagudo, which began on August 20, will be extended in time with a second phase that will mean the continuity of the works, less, another five or six months.

The City Council guarantees the continuity of the works in this monumental and unique landscape of the XII century, one of the times of greatest splendor of Murcia, in which the city was one of the most powerful capitals of the West, and finance them with 60,000 euros .

This was announced today by the mayor of Murcia, José Ballesta, together with the director of the archaeological excavations of Monteagudo and senior scientist of the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), the archaeologist Julio Navarro Palazón, who announced the latest and most valuable findings in the excavation, in what he called "a historic day for all Murcia."

"Almost a hundred years later, we took up these excavations started by Andrés Sobejano in 1924," said the mayor of Murcia, who said that "the first findings and analysis of all the discovered material indicate that it is worth continuing, since we are at the beginning of something that can be very promising in the future and, for this, the excavations will continue advancing with this second Phase ".

"From the City we want to do it with the help of the researchers, who are the ones who should be directing all this exciting process and, with the help of the Autonomous Community, who has the competences in the field of Culture and is actively participating in all this process ", underlined José Ballesta.

In fact, if the findings so establish, we will continue with a third Phase of the excavations.

For this, the City of Murcia, "concur to the call for grants for archaeological excavations that the Autonomous Community will take in the coming days," said the mayor.

The first and valuable findings

The works are bringing to light the different elements that made up the 'almunia' or recreational estate enjoyed by King Lobo, Ibn Mardanish, in Murcia of the twelfth century, which had a large pond or artificial lagoon.

The first results have discovered a medieval structure that could function as a lookout tower from which to contemplate the almunia.

It has also been found a section of aqueduct of 32 m in length, composed of 9 arches, and different structures that seem to belong to the North front of the artificial lagoon;

with a dimension of 160x220m, similar to the large pool of the Agdal of Marrakech.

The lagoon of Monteagudo is a third bigger than initially estimated by the researchers and it would be, therefore, the first Arab lagoon in the whole Mediterranean, equating to the great pool of the Agdal of Marrakech.

New hypothesis

The surveys and surveys carried out allow us to formulate the hypothesis that the artificial lagoon was delimited by a large perimeter platform similar to that which exists in the pools of Agdal and Menara in Marrakech.

The prospections carried out in the adjoining farms allow to hypothesize that the almunia had a palatal area attached to the lagoon.

In addition, archaeologists have found that it is not a single-phase site, but the almunia has several construction phases.

Next to the lagoon a wall has been found whose orientation throws the possibility that the building could be a mosque, although the excavations must continue to confirm this initial hypothesis.

Historic context

The palace of Castillejo de Monteagudo, located on a low hill, was part of a large recreational estate that had a large pond, or artificial lagoon, which was fed by irregular contributions, possibly from an adjacent ravine, whose layout is still well visible in the agricultural parcel.

Thanks to Arab sources we know that it was Ibn Mardani¹'s recreational estate, known in Christian sources as "Rey Lobo".

After the fall of the Almoravids, Abû 'Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Sa'd Ibn Mardani¹ seized power in 1147 and consolidated an important taifa over a period of almost a quarter of a century, making Murcia its capital.

Ibn Mardani¹ is one of the most important and controversial figures of the peninsular political scene during the 12th century.

His dominions in the stage of maximum splendor extended by the historical kingdoms of Murcia and Valencia, more part of the current provinces of Cuenca, Teruel, Jaén and Almería.

He conquered Ecija and Carmona and came to besiege Granada, Cordoba and Seville.

Source: Ayuntamiento de Murcia

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