Thursday, February 22

What should I do if I find an archaeological piece in Extremadura?


Roman stone found on a farm in Llerena. / TODAY

Extremadura heritage

What happened in Llerena, where a neighbor kept a Roman stone that he found on a farm, is an example of how not to act

Angela Murillo

Extremadura still keeps many historical treasures waiting to be discovered and there are still sites in the community that have not been completely excavated. Those of Regina or Turuñuelo, both in the province of Badajoz, are just two examples in which there is still a lot of research work to be done. Sometimes some places near these enclaves usually appear pieces that are part of the Heritage, so in the face of a fortuitous finding of this type it is important to know how we should proceed to avoid incurring illegality.

Each year, the Extremadura Heritage Protection Unit receives dozens of queries from people who have found a vestige likely to form part of the archaeological heritage.

What happened in Llerena is precisely an example of what should not be done. A resident of the town of Campiña Sur found a fragment of Roman stone without duly informing the competent authorities, in the case of the region, the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage of the Board.

48 hours

The Board recalls that in the event of an archaeological find, the Extremadura Heritage Law requires communication within a maximum period of 48 hours.

In the event of receiving a communication or request for information from an individual, the Heritage Protection Unit assesses the information on the finding and makes a visit to collect the object and draw up the minutes. The phone number to contact this public service is 924008390.

deposit in the museum

Once safe, the goods are deposited in one of the two provincial museums: in the Provincial Archaeological Museum of Badajoz or in the Museum of Cáceres, if the vestige was found in Cáceres territory. From there, the work of documentation, investigation and custody begins.

These actions of the regional Administration are carried out in many cases in collaboration with Seprona and the National Police.

What do people find?

As for the typology of the findings, Heritage details that they are usually bulky objects, especially stelae, and large inscriptions, among others.

The Heritage Protection Unit also responds to numerous requests for the use of metal detectors. In these cases, its use is only authorized in archaeological interventions (directed by a qualified archaeologist and with an authorized project), with specific requirements that are included in a procedure document.

In the case of the stone fragment with Roman relief found in Llerena, the Civil Guard has collaborated with the General Directorate of Heritage so that the Seprona de Badajoz research team obtained sufficient evidence to determine the existence of this piece. When the Seprona agents met with the owner of the piece, the man voluntarily handed it over and it was later deposited in the Archaeological Museum of Badajoz.

This intervened decorative fragment or “membra disiecta”, a stone carving that represents the moving scene of a “man with his back turned pulling a roped bovine”, supposedly he had discovered it by chance while carrying out renovation work on a farm belonging to his property located in the outskirts of Llerena.

Now the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage of the Board will be in charge of studying and analyzing the intervened piece, with specific archaeological methodology that determines its supposed cultural historical value, origin and provenance.


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