Alfredo Valenzuela I Seville, Feb 21 (EFE).- The City Council of Medina-Sidonia (Cádiz) plans to begin an archaeological excavation in its municipal area shortly, in the place that the researcher Alberto Porlan pointed out seven years ago as the possible location of the mythical capital of Tartessos and where a georadar survey has detected two large buried structures.
The mayor of Medina-Sidonia; Manuel Macías, has told EFE that before the end of his term in May he hopes to have all the permits to start this excavation on the “Las Peñuelas” farm, three kilometers from Benalup (formerly Casas Viejas), which will be directed by the archaeologist Ernesto rangel.
Rangel has indicated the interest that this excavation will have because there are already “diagnostic surveys that indicate the existence of a channel, which is not natural” and with aerial and satellite photographs that show the existence of quadrangular structures, although this type of photographs do not reflect everything that may have been buried.
This channel is 24 meters wide and three meters deep, excessive dimensions for it to be a connection between the two branches of the Álamo river that delimit the fluvial island, since it is much wider and deeper than the channels that would have connected, has pointed out Alberto Porlan, who in 2016 published the study “Tartessos. A new paradigm ”, in which he located this mythical city right in that area.
Porlan has assured that “the channel segment, despite being enormous, is part of a much larger group” and that one of the official flights of the National Geographic Institute (IGN) over the area reveals a group of parallel shadows and orthogonal figures whose lines do not cross each other and that the channel is part of that group of shadows, and that is why it was surveyed.
Fifty meters from the canal and parallel to it, some twenty parallel ditches were also detected and very close to each other, 40 centimeters wide and two meters deep which, according to the hypothesis of Porlan, a specialist in toponymy and author of the monumental “The names of Europe” would have a defensive character, since they are on flat ground.
The trenches, like the canal, are today clogged by half a meter of sediment and the strangest thing is that they are so narrow that from a certain depth the excavator would not fit in the trench that he was digging unless he was a child.
Both findings were made, at the request of the Medina-Sidonia City Council, in 2019 by a team from the University of Cádiz (UCA) that used georadar, led by Professor Lázaro Lagostena, who has not granted archaeological value to the discovery of these structures that , in statements to EFE, has attributed “to water management in a riverside context”, the canal, and to agricultural activity, the parallel ditches.
The land lacks ceramic remains and is not good for geophysical prospecting because it is a plain with clayey sediments, according to Lagostena, whose team did not measure the channel or date it, since they did not excavate.
“Extraordinary” and “momentous” find
However, after the study with georadar, Carmen del Cerro, a professor at the Autonomous University of Madrid, a researcher at the Higher Center for Scientific Research (CSIC) and a specialist in ancient pipelines in the Persian Gulf, issued a report for the Medina City Council. Sidonia in which, in accordance with Porlan’s hypothesis, he pointed out the possible “defensive nature” of these structures.
Carmen del Cerro’s report, which indicates that she herself has excavated channels of similar dimensions built at the beginning of the first millennium BC, adds that the “anomaly” detected by the geophysical study “is such that it must be resolved through a direct study of the terrain”, and adds that the structures detected “in any case are not the result of natural erosion but an anthropic intervention”.
Contrary to the UCA report, Porlan told EFE that the finding “is extraordinary and could be transcendental” and that the magnitude of what was discovered is “astonishing”, because the dimensions of the canal “make it completely unthinkable as a transfer route ” between two minor channels, barely six meters wide.
And Porlan offers examples: The width of the canal detected is half that of the Grand Canal in Venice, and the Canal de Castilla, designed for river transport between Segovia and Reinosa, only reaches a maximum width of 22 meters in some sections, so the work which is now being studied, according to the researcher, would be “completely absurd from the hydraulic point of view”.
Part of the Phoenician culture
The most curious thing about this case is that it has not gone from the discovery of the buried structures to the Porlan hypothesis, but the other way around, that is, the Porlan hypothesis, built on literary historical sources, has led to the prospecting of the land , to the detection of the structures and, shortly, according to the plans of the Medina Sidonia City Council, to an excavation that will clarify everything scientifically.
Porlan, moreover, is against the most recent currents of archaeological and historical research that deny the existence of Tartessos as such a kingdom and that it would have possessed a political capital and maintain that it was nothing more than a part of the Phoenician culture.
Hence, when he published his “Tartessos. A new paradigm”, he reserved for the cover of his book a drawing of his own hand that reproduces the profile of the head of a dog that, when tilted 90 degrees, becomes the coastal profile of the upper part of the Strait of Gibraltar , so that the eye of the dog is the ancient lagoon of La Janda, where the structures detected by the UCA are located, in an allusion to Greek mythology and the dog of Gerión, king of Tartessos from whom Hercules stole his flock of Bulls. EFE