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“Cerro Colorao” archaeological site gains Junta’s protection

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« on: October 27, 2007, 12:35:06 am »

“Cerro Colorao” archaeological site gains Junta’s protection
Cristina González
On the border between Marbella and Benahavís, the remains found date back as far as the 4th century BC, and include walls and coins

It’s almost ten years now since construction work on the new motorway uncovered archaeological remains that shed more light on the past of Marbella and the first known settlements in the area. Last week the site, known as “Cerro Colorao” was officially declared a Bien de Interés Cultural (BIC - an asset of cultural interest) by the Junta de Andalucía. This means that the remains, which date back to the 4th century BC and are located on the border of Marbella and Benahavís in the area of La Quinta, have been afforded special protection and takes the total number of BICs in municipality of Marbella up to 19.
Long process

“This site is of great importance, not just on a local but also on a regional level”, said Catalina Urbaneja, president of Cilniana, an association in defence of the area’s historical heritage, which has been calling for this area to be protected for the last ten years. On one hand the group is pleased that the “Cerro Colorao” site, named after the reddish colour of the hillside, has finally been officially protected although they regret it has taken so long for this to happen. “Part of the site was destroyed when a constructor brought a digger into the area to start building”, recalls an indignant Catalina.

The Cilniana president goes out of her way to stress the importance of these remains to help understand more about the history of the area. “The sites are like a book, and bring something new because there was no record of any other settlements from this period. There is evidence of the different peoples who occupied the area: the Pre-Roman walled settlement with defences built in the Punic Wars and the Roman conquest of the whole zone surrounding the Gibraltar Strait”, explains Urbaneja. She is calling for further archaeological excavations to be carried out.

Walls and coins

Archaeologists were able to clearly identity the remains of the defence walls and those of houses in the Pre-Roman settlement which was later occupied by the Romans. The great treasure, found among the roots of an olive tree, was a number of well preserved Roman coins of great value. They were wrapped in a leather bag which had preserved them over the centuries. Now the coins are in a museum until Marbella has its own place to display them.

The inclusion of “Cerro Colorao” on the list of protected assets has a number of advantages. Apart from the fact that the BICs have priority when it comes to conservation grants, the Junta de Andalucía can penalise any unauthorised work. The area has already been fenced off and any planning permission withdrawn.
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