Located on a hill in the foothills of the Montsià mountain range and with a privileged view of the surroundings, the Iberian town El Antic, in Amposta, could offer valuable information to explain what the Ebro delta was like 2,300 years ago.
It is one of the research objectives that the archaeologists from the Rovira i Virgili University (URV) have proposed since the beginning of the excavations. They have found weights from fishing nets and believe that an ancient arm of the mouth could pass nearby. After closing the fourth campaign, they believe that the enclave could reach an area of 2,000 square meters and that it lived under an important Carthaginian influence before around the year 200 BC, as a result of the Second Punic War, it passed into the Roman orbit. .
Archaeologists believe that the site, very possibly, played a prominent role in the military strategy of the Carthaginians and Romans in the great battle that they would have fought in the area of the mouth of the Ebro at the end of the 3rd century before our era, in the framework of the second Punic war.
A difficult-to-access hill that dominated the entire space from the Montsianell in the final stretch of the Ebro and its mouth. Once again, a strategic situation that allowed visual control of the space and was decisive when it came to exercising political influence in the territory.
But beyond its strategic, military and political role in the context of the territory of Ilercavonia of the 3rd century before our era, the URV team that has been excavating the settlement for four campaigns sees there as a field of study and research to understand and explain what the ecosystem that surrounded it, the Ebro delta, was like at that time.
As explained by Marc Prades, one of the co-directors of the excavations, methodologies that had not yet been tested in the territory will be used with data provided by the site itself.
URV archaeologists believe that fishing was a main source of food for its inhabitants, according to the net sinkers found. This would indicate what the main economic activity of the town was, also based on the types of fishing.
In addition, sediment samples will be studied to find pollen remains that identify some plant species that populated the Delta. The mollusk shells found in the enclave will also be studied.
This year's excavation campaign, the fourth, has made it possible to explore 40 meters of the walled section that closed the town to the north. This, according to the co-director of the excavations and professor at the URV, Samuel Sardà, allows us to intuit that the town had reached an area of more than 2,000 square meters, a "medium-large" size within the standards of the area.
The works also helped to confirm the fluctuation of influences in the space, with first a Punic influence and, later, Roman rule from the 2nd century BC, mainly.
On the one hand, lead weights have been documented for scales, equivalent to the unit of measurement of the Hispano-Carthaginian system -7.25 grams- and a Roman coin.
The fall of Sagunto would mark, to a large extent, the beginning of Roman control of the territories in the south of the Ebro. "We will be able to trace this with precision in Ancient times," Sardà remarked.
For his part, the mayor of Amposta, Adam Tomàs, promised to maintain the municipal commitment to support excavations to reveal and disseminate spaces of interest from different periods in the city.
Aware that in the short term the site will not yet be accessible to the public while it continues to be studied, the idea is to progressively "create a space of interest for the city."
"It is important that citizens know not only the most modern part of history but also the ancient part, from Carthaginian or Roman times," he noted.
The council annually contributes around 12,000 euros to carry out the excavations -40,000 in total so far-.
Tomàs has announced his intention to increase collaboration in this area with the URV to promote the study of archeology in the city, where he recalled that numerous students come to participate in internships due to the work.