A day at Complutum Roman city (Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain)


Aerial view of ‘Regio II’, opened to the public in 2012

Complutum was an important Roman city at the center of Spain, 50 Has large, built during Claudius reign but with a great development between the 3rd and 5th c. AD. After important excavations during Spanish Siglo de Oro, it was almost forgotten along 19 and 20th centuries. It was re-discovered  in the 1980’s and last years´ works. Under the management of archaeologists Sebastián Rascón Marqués and Ana Lucía Sánchez Montes, it has reached  important finds about urbanism and public and private constructions. The project, supported by different grants (Alcalá de Henares City Council -Alcalá was Miguel de Cervantes born place and is also a World Heritage Site-; Regional Government of Madrid; and different Ministries of the Spanish Government) includes the research, preservation of the site and the opening of some places to the public: casa de Hippolytus, in 1999, forum in 2009 and regio II in 2012.

This year of 2013, the Day of Archaeology finds us working on casa de los Grifos, a special domus near Complutum forum, that has been dug continuously since 2004: a classic peristylum house of 900 sq meters plus porticoes, with an important collection of Roman wall painting. The house was ruined in the 3th c., maybe when they were working, and was never reconstructed. This allows us to find almost the whole house painted decorations, and lots of data about everyday Roman life, covered in the ruins of ancient roofs.

In 2013 we are carrying three different works: the main one is the excavation and restoration of ambulacrum South and ambulacrum West, in the peristylum. Plus the catalogue of wall paintings from some rooms, and specific excavations of Classics Department from Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. So, a group of about 20 people will be working at Casa de los Grifos from May to September.


Documenting a strata at Casa de los Grifos