Snapshots of yesterday.

View from the south of Department XVIII (John D. Evans Fund, 1950).

La Bastida is one of the first Bronze Age sites excavated and internationally renowned. In 1869, the civil engineer Rogelio de Inchaurrandieta, informed by a peasant, excavated there with the help of 18 labourers. In just three days, he discovered about twenty graves and made interesting observations from the finds. In addition, he took care to disseminate them and published an article in the proceedings of the International Congress of Anthropology and Prehistoric Archeology in Copenhagen, held in 1870.

Those promising beginnings served for La Bastida to always be taken into account. However, it wasn’t enough to establish ongoing and in-depth research. The list of archaeologists who have worked here is very long. Luis Siret, a capital figure in Southeastern Prehistory, and his foreman Pedro Flores excavated at the end of 1886. Juan Cuadrado, first director of the Archaeological Museum of Almería, did so at least twice, in the late 1920s and during the Spanish Civil War. In the post-war period, between 1944 and 1950, there were four campaigns led by the Seminar of Primitive History of Man at the University of Madrid, directed by Julio Martínez Santa-Olalla. The most significant information available until the beginning of the “Bastida Project” comes from these works.

View of La Bastida from Cabezo Gordo (Hill) in 1944 (Santa-Olalla Fund).

And neglect came…

In 1950, a long period of institutional abandonment, neglect and damage inflicted by clandestine excavators and, incomprehensibly, public works started. However, uncontrolled interventions have come a long way due to the following. First, there is news that La Bastida was the target of “treasure hunters” even before the excavation of Inchaurrandieta. Second, straddling the 19th and 20th, it was also the setting for the story of looting and scams starring by “El Corro” and “El Rosao”. And, finally, as the numerous “toperas” (looting holes) attest, the site was also one of the favourite places of clandestine explorations, at least until the end of the last century.

Despite everything, the almost destruction of the top and north slope is even more striking due to reforestation terraces promoted by ICONA. It is incomprehensible that in the 1970s, when La Bastida was already well known as a first-rate site, heavy machinery could break into the area without hindrance.

And hope returned…

Almost twenty years ago, the Government of the Region of Murcia showed a clear interest in protecting the site and promoted works of consolidation and documentation performed by Arqueotec and ArqueoWeb companies. As a result, a new awareness settled in and created the auspicious conditions for the beginning of the “Bastida Project” in 2008.

View of Lébor watercourse from the excavations carried out in the southeast slope, in 1944 (Santa-Olalla and John D.Evans Funds).

View of Lébor watercourse from the excavations carried out in the southeast slope, in 1944 (Santa-Olalla and John D.Evans Funds).

View of BAO 11 funeral urn, once extracted from the grave and placed on the esplanade where the team deposited and classified the findings (Santa-Olalla and John D.Evans Funds)

View of BAO 11 funeral urn, once extracted from the grave and placed on the esplanade where the team deposited and classified the findings (Santa-Olalla and John D.Evans Funds)

In the foreground, you can see a funeral urn with a bowl as a grave good and, in the background, a cist of thick and well cut out slabss (Santa-Olalla and John D.Evans Funds)

In the foreground, you can see a funeral urn with a bowl as a grave good and, in the background, a cist of thick and well cut out slabss (Santa-Olalla and John D.Evans Funds)

Musealization works in the lower southeast slope sector.

Musealization works in the lower southeast slope sector.

View of La Bastida before starting “the Project” (2008)

View of La Bastida before starting “the Project” (2008)

Fortification restoration works (2020)

Fortification restoration works (2020)

View of La Bastida (2021).

View of La Bastida (2021).

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